The beauty in nature comes primarily from so much diversity. There’s not just one kind of “pretty thing” because God made it all.
Excerpted from Promises to Keep: Daily Devotions for Men of Integrity, a daily devotional. This section comes from June 21 written by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey and their book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
It seems safe to assume that God enjoys variety… He didn’t stop with a thousand insect species; he conjured up three hundred thousand species of beetles and weevils along. In his famous speech in the Book of Job, God pointed with pride to such oddities of creation at the mountain goat, the wild ass, the ostrich, and the lightning bolt. He lavished color, design, and texture on the world, giving us Pygmies and Watusies, blond Scandinavians and swarthy Italians, big-boned Russians and petite Japanese.
People, created in His image, have continued the process of individualization, grouping themselves according to distinct cultures. Consider the continent of Asia for a crazy salad. In China women wear long pants and men wear gowns. In tropical Asia people drink hot tea and munch on blistering peppers to keep cool. Japanese fry ice cream. Indonesian men dance in public with other men to demonstrate that they are not homosexual. Westerners smile at the common Asian custom of marriages arranged by parents; Asians gasp at our entrusting such a decision to vague romantic love. Balinese men squat to urinate and women stand. And when the British introduced the violin to India a century ago, men started playing it while sitting on the floor, holding it between the shoulder and the sole of the foot. Why not?
Whenever I travel overseas, I am struck anew by the world’s incredible diversity, and the churches overseas are now are now beginning to show that cultural self-expression. For too long they were bound up in Western ways (as the early church had been bound in Jewish ways) so that hymns, dress, architecture, and church names were the same around the world. Now indigenous churches are bursting out with their own spontaneous expressions of worship to God. I must guard against picturing the Body of Christ as composed only of American or British cells; it is far grander and more luxuriant than that…
Blacks in Murphy, North Carolina, shout their praised to God. Believers in Austria intone them, accompanied by magnificent organs and illuminated by stained glass. Some Africans dance their praise to God, following the beat of a skilled drummer. Sedate Japanese Christians express their gratitude by creating objects of beauty. Indians point their hands upward, palms together, in the namaste greeting of respect, that has it origin in the Hindu concept “I worship the God I see in you,” but gains new meaning as Christians use it to recognize the image of God in others.
The Body of Christ, like our own bodies, is composed of individual, unlike cells that are knit together to form one Body. He is the whole thing, and the joy of the Body increases as individual cells realize they can be diverse without becoming isolated outposts.