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CHURCHTALK: Unity in diversity – Rotai o te Tukeke

Friday 30 July 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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CHURCHTALK: Unity in diversity – Rotai o te Tukeke
Aitutaki Enua performs imene tuki at the 2019 Te Maeva Nui festival. 21072912

Let us showcase all diversities of gifts, skills and talents that God has blessed each and every one of us so much with, from the different islands we come from, different cultures, customs and traditions, at this year’s Constitution celebrations, writes Bishop Tutai Pere of the Apostolic Church.

“But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way … Te inangaro maata ua na kotou I te au taoonga nunui ra; e akakite atura au ia kotou I te mataara meitaki maata rava ra.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 31

Today, Friday, July 30, 2021, our Honourable Prime Minister Mr Mark Brown will declare open our Cook Islands 56th Constitutional Celebration with a Float Parade to cruise along our centre of town Maire Maeva Nui Road. Of around 28 float exhibitions with diverse decorative styles without doubt will be showcasing diverse themes of presentations. So different and diverse they may all look, but one unifying and solidifying factor remains hidden and unseen, kept a secret till all is over. The Book of Wisdom in Proverbs 4: 9 and 12 states, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour…12, And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. A tall and strong building is not held up and consolidated by sand planted posts only, neither by cement only, nor rocks or gravels only, but a standard required mixture of all with water that shall provide the most sturdy and solid stand, such that it can withstand strong winds or stormy weathers. That’s the strength of unity in diversity, a mixture and combination of all necessary particles, same as in a human body. The same strength of unity is required in every human institution upon earth. There is such unified reinforcement and reconsolidation destined for humans only.

Saturday July 31st, will be an international evening of entertainment when different ethnic groups will gather to perform in their own unique national costumes, languages, cultural songs and dances. Come Sunday night, August 1st, church, island or village groups will be showcasing talents, skills and group singing of church hymns to the old traditional tunes and choir compositions. Monday, August 2nd through to Tuesday, August 3rd, our evenings will be chock-a-blocked with people jam-packing into our National Auditorium, if not as participants, definitely spectators to watch and enjoy the typical Cook Islands cultural dances and performances at their very best. As all good things must come to an end, certainly an event and day not to be missed is the Cook Islands National Constitutional Day on Wednesday, August 4th where we will hear our Honourable Prime Minister Mr Mark Brown address the nation. The event will start at 10am. Special presentations of awards to well deserving individual groups will be the closing event a little later in the afternoon on the same day.

All in all, this almost weeklong ‘Te Maeva Nui Festival’ of national culture and dance is imbedded and integrated with special advertised national events and activities, and market sales of local food, produces and goods during the day, with dances in the evenings.

Where then is the ‘Unity in Diversity’ in all of the above? The Apostle Paul in the whole 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians addresses the believers of Christ like a human body made up of diverse members yet each member of the body working together harmoniously as One Body. One head of the human body articulates all other members to work cohesively and harmoniously and one heart pumps blood into every part of the body; so should all human families and institutions be. In verses 4 – 7, he writes, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5, And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6, And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7, But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit all. 13, For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit”. There is no jealousy, no covetousness, no fighting, war, lying, cheating and absolutely no disunity and sowing seeds of discord amongst each and every member of our human bodies. It is only our ignorance, pride and arrogance that causes or bring harm, hurts, abuses and injuries to a body that he has blessed us so much with, if only we could treat and handle it with care.

As our opening verse says, “But earnestly desire the best gifts”, look for all the good and best things in life to harness and enhance life to the fullest. The Apostle Paul then reveals that hidden secret of better pathway and more fulfilling and most satisfactory lifestyle when he closes the 12th Chapter in verse 31, “And yet I show you a more excellent way…” – that is to be found at chapter 13, his most famous song of ‘Love, the very key to Unity In Diversity’. As different, varied and diverse each and every member of our human body is, yet, the fact that they are all able to work and operate in harmony to serve and deliver the general good to the whole body without jealousies and prejudices postulates that unifying love – that surpasses and overlooks the oddity of shape, size and peculiarity of our human innermost cells, bones, organs, muscles and tissues. He concludes with the following verses 4 – 7, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…13, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

Love is of God and God is Love. That love is manifested in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ, who unreservedly but freely gave His own life to die on the Cross, shed His own blood to remit all of mankind’s sins, in order that none should ever perish but follow His path and way to ultimate peace, unity and eternal in God.

Let us showcase all diversities of gifts, skills and talents that God has blessed each and every one of us so much with, from the different islands we come from, different cultures, customs and traditions. Not only at our 2021 Constitutional Celebration but so much more in our nation, our government, ministries, businesses, all organisations and institutions and every individual family and marriages. Stay unified in the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – the unbroken bond and unseen glue that holds the entire universe together by the power of the Holy Ghost which He has promised to put in us all after we have obeyed His word like the early believers did on Pentecost Sunday in Acts 2.

Lest we forget, finally, first Bishop of Jerusalem the Apostle James writes at Chapter 1: 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”.

Have a safe, much blessed, jubilant and joyous weeklong celebrations. Kia Orana e Kia Manuia rava te iti tangata e te basileia Kuki Airani e ta tatou au manuiri e te turuto. Te Atua te Aroa!