The word of the day is “mind.” According to our modern idea of individualism, everyone has their own ideas and opinions. And most likely, these differing outlooks will not agree. Thus, our media is more interested in uncovering our disagreements with one another than our agreements.
But note the different spirit in today’s reading of 1 Peter 2:21-3:9. In this passage, the apostle concludes his practical instructions with a summary of how we should regard one another. He writes, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous…” (OSB vs. 8).
How Can Individuals Be of One Mind?
Much of what Peter advises has to do with our feelings for one another and our treatment of one another. However, when we read closely, we find a striking imperative that is at odds with the individualism of our society. We are to “be of one mind.” How is it possible that we should think alike?
Let’s probe deeper into what Paul is saying. The Greek term that Peter uses comes from the joining of two thoughts. The first refers to perspective, that is, how we view things, And the second comes from the word for the same (Strong’s #3675). We might say that to be of one mind means that we have the same viewpoint. As a result, our thoughts, as well as our attitudes, are of one accord.
The Divine Liturgy: “With One Mind We May Confess”
For example, in the Divine Liturgy, the deacon invites the faithful to confess the Creed with the words, “Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess…” (St-Tikhon’s 1984, 62). And the choir and laity respond with the confession of the basic mind of the Church: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Trinity one in essence and undivided” (St-Tikhon’s 1984, 62).
Here the apostle summarizes his counsel about our feelings for one another and how we treat them. The deacon intones, “Let us love one another. We do so that we might confess our shared faith. Our “one mind” is an expression of our love for Christ and one another. Love is not merely a matter of emotions. Love seeks unity with what it loves. Therefore, love strives for harmony with others in body, soul, and mind, an accord that embraces the wholeness of ourselves.
What “One Mind” Do We Share?
But then, what is the “one mind” that we share? This “mind” thinks of God from the same point of view. We know God by the revelation of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as One in Three, the Holy Trinity. From this viewpoint, we confess the Creed, that narrative of our salvation.
There is no room for disagreement here, for there is one God, one Savior, and one Spirit. Thus, the apostle writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (OSB Ephesians 4:5). So, we see that the apostle prefixes all the essentials of the faith with the adjective, “one.” In these all-important basics, believers have perfect unity and harmony of thought, emotion and action,
Our study leads to a provocative thought. If we have different ideas about God, if we insist on our own views about the things of God, if we persist in hanging on to different and even conflicting opinions about God and our salvation, then it seems that Paul’s question applies to ourselves. We too must answer, “Is Christ divided?” (OSB 1 Corinthians 1:13). The Greek term comes from a word whose root is “to part.” Therefore, it means to disunite, to separate into parts, or to distribute. Christ intended His Church to be one in Him. He said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
The Lord expects us to be one just as the Father and the Son are one, one in the other. What if the Father held a different opinion than the Son? What if the Incarnate Son had a will that was not aligned with the Father’s? We would say that the divergence in the mind of God was not perfect unity. So why do many think that we can be united in spirit and yet not be one in mind, that is, the same viewpoint as “mind” was defined above?
In other words, if we don’t recognize that some beliefs are wrong or, at least, incomplete by the measure of Holy Tradition, then we are accepting the division of Christ. But if we put on the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), and the like-mindedness of the church fathers, and Holy Tradition, then in the unity of the Holy Spirit, we truly confess one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To Him be praise and thanksgiving forever.
St-Tikhon’s. 1984. Service Books of the Orthodox Church. Third ed. South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press.
Thank you Fr Basil,
“To be of one mind means that we have the same viewpoint.”
This makes perfect sense, to have the mind of Christ instead of our own opinions. One Body and One Spirit and Christ is the Head.
And not to have different and conflicting views and opinions about God, and Salvation.