Sunday January 27
Scriptures: Nehemiah 8:9-10
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-26 One Body with Many Members
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
“One Body Many Members”
We quite often refer to the church as the Body of Christ, but do we really know what that means. Do we really take that metaphor to heart? Notice, I said metaphor not simile. This is an important distinction that needs to be made. A simile is used when we say something is like something else. A metaphor is used when we say something is something else. Paul does not say that we the Church are “like the Body of Christ”; he says we “are the Body of Christ.” Therefore, Paul is not just making a causal comparison, he is drawing a strong link between the way the human body works and the way the Body of Christ works.
In doing this, Paul lets us know that each of us is important to the function of the whole body. This also reminds us that when one part is hurting, we all should feel it. A wonderful illustration of this is seen when someone visits a chiropractor. If you hurt your foot and are limping for a long period of time, this will cause your weight to shift, which in turn affects your back. I have often found, when I visit the chiropractor, that my back is sore because some other part lower down is not in the right place.
The same thing is often the case in the Church. When one person in the congregation is hurting, for whatever reason, it often causes a ripple effect across the pews to others. In fact, if this is not the case, that particular congregation is not healthy. We should feel the pain of others. Just as the body reacts when a certain part is hurt, we should react when one of our members is in pain.
Of course, we all know people who are private and keep their pain hidden. However, this too is an issue. As a part of the Body of Christ, we should all be willing to share our pain. This does not mean we have to give every minute detail, but we should be willing to at least let others know we are hurting. Often we do not do this out of shame, guilt, or mistrust. We often let our pride get in the way. These are issue we must learn to overcome, both as individuals and as a community of faith.
If we are to function properly as the Body of Christ, we must also be willing to step up when the need arrives. Often we find ourselves missing a part of the Body. This may be our nature. Like someone being born blind or deaf. It may be because of an injury, such as loss of a limb due to combat, or it may be due to an internal disease within the church, similar to the surgical removal of an organ damaged by cancer. These things happen in the Body of Christ just as they do in the human body. This often means another part of the body must become more efficient. We see this when a blind person’s hearing becomes more acute. In the Church, this often manifests as someone taking on a new role.
The bottom line of all of this is that we are supposed to function together as one unit; one body with many members, just as our own body functions. This means there are those who are meant to be seen and/or heard; and there are those who must work on the inside. This can cause a lot of health issues if we let pride, greed, or envy get in the way. We often do not get to choose our gift received from God and therefore our place in the Body. Just as with our own body, the Body of Christ works best when each part does that which it is called to do. None of us can run as well while walking on our hands or write as well when using our feet. We must be obedient to our place for the Body to do its best work.