1 Corinthians 12: 1-12
One difficulty with Paul’s metaphor in the passage, for me, is that I cannot feel it, not the way I can feel my own fingers and toes. Well, we all may feel sorry for each other or glad for each other, but if someone hits you, my skin does not bruise, and when you get a raise, my standard of living does not go up.
I, as a pastor, have dreamed about how a loving Christian community should look—loving, caring, serving, welcoming, opening, embracing and so on. In reality, we often encounter holy struggle to give ourselves up to the working of the Holy Spirit by learning how to live with people we may not like at all.
The brains want everybody to ack like brains, and the hearts want everybody to ack like hearts; however, there is always a hangnail who brings out the hangnail in everyone else. The problem may begin when we put ourselves in community with a bunch of other people who look, think, talk, and act differently from us. We have learned and relearned that the real purpose of community is not to retreat someplace with other like-minded people.
“We are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” that is what Paul said. Paul did not say, “We are like the body of Christ,” after all. Whether we realize it or not; whether we feel it or not; whether we like each other or not; we are the body of Christ, and there is nothing we can do about it but act like it or not.
If what Paul said is true, then, God is not waiting for any of us to decide who is in or out of Christ’s body, not even ourselves. This truth is beyond our consent or liking. We all are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Paul said that when one of us suffers, we all suffer together, and when one of us is honored, all the rest of us rejoice.
Whenever anyone laughs, cries, lives, or dies, in this web of creation, we all are affected by it whether we know it or not. When one suffers, we all suffer; and when one is honored, all the rest of us rejoice-—but it does not seem to work that way very often.
There is an old saying that goes like this, “You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one make two. But you must also understand “and.” We know who our “and” is, don’t we?
The creator of all our parts, the author of our wholeness; the lover beyond our understanding; and the God who has got the whole world in his hands with room left over, turning you and me and them into us as one body.
Thanks be to God.