1 Corinthians 12: 12-31
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
As individuals, we tend to take our bodies for granted. We do not think about how the various parts of the human body are interdependent- that is they work together and allow us through our senses to experience the joy of life. If you could only see a play and not hear the dialogue, would you not have missed a huge part of the experience?
Few of us get up in the morning thinking about how are circulation system works. It just does and we are grateful. We only begin to think about our individual bodies when they begin to break down on us and we need to adjust to restrictions these new physical limitations place on our freedom to act.
It is the same for families and larger communities like towns or countries. As individuals we smell, talk, think, look and act differently to each other. Our trouble begins when more then one of us has to share the same room. This might be a husband and wife who are sharing a lifelong covenant with each other- for better or worse. It could be a young brother and sister who really had no choice in the selection of their parents or siblings for that matter. When you become a community of individuals, all of whom think and respond differently, your bound to run into tension between members about how to share that room, be it a kitchen, country, community or idea.
It was the same in the early Church. The early Christian converts heard the message of Jesus’ Gospel spoken by Paul and they struggled to live its truth in unity with each other’s diversity.
Some Christians seemed to believe (and some still do) that being part of the Church is an individual matter and is not essentially bound to life with others.
This is such a shame because God has made us all special and of infinite value, and urges us to share our gifts and talents with those around us.
Being part of any community isn’t easy. It does need some effort and some work, all relationships do.
Let’s remember that the church is not a building; it is not a program; it is not an institutional bureaucracy. The church is people in relationship, it’s a family—It’s us struggling to live in community with each other, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live out the life of Jesus in and for the world today.
If our building or our community were to disappear tomorrow, the living Body of Jesus Christ, his church would carry on. You and I would be there striving to do our part because we know that our Unity in Christ is enough to sustain all of our human failings and predicaments. It is not fickle, faddish, or popular. It gives us the strength to share our talents and join in with the work of Christ in the world. That’s what we’re here for—to be the body of Christ—his hands and feet in a fractured world, working to make all things new.
So, something to think about…….
What does it mean for you to be part of the Body of Christ?
The truth is you are unique; and uniquely gifted to play a part in the work of this church family and we’re not the same without you!—What part can you play as we seek to grow closer together and reach out to a world in need?