Scripture

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Unity and Diversity in the Body

 

12 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 honorable we treat with special honor. 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 honor 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 honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Reflection

At one time, we were a society that centered around family. Multiple generations often lived together under one roof, and when families did live separately, they always lived close. Today, we are much more of an individualistic culture. We value our independence, and like to pride ourselves on our ability to do things on our own. Many of us live long distances from our families. We barely know the people who live next door or across the street.

In the church, some people like to remain anonymous in the congregation. They think of church as a place to attend, get what they need, and leave. They come in late, sit on the back row, and head out fast before anyone can talk to them. As an introvert, I understand not wanting to be social sometimes. But so many people miss out on the richness of relationship. These anonymous church-goers are never fully known by the people around them. My guess is they don’t know or try to know their neighbors either. Our culture makes it easy to be anonymous everywhere.

Our anonymous friends are never fully known by others. They don't rely on the church or anyone else when they are struggling or in need. Instead, they wear masks that cover the pain of their lives, pretending that everything's okay.

God created us for community. God is community. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have enjoyed the love and fellowship of their perfect triune community since the beginning of time. Our Creator desires for us to participate in that community, and know the perfect and joy-filled love shared in the Trinity. God created us to be in community together, to create families and live together, bearing the image of and reflecting the love of the three-in-one God.

Independence and autonomy are not the goal of the Christian life. We were made to live in loving dependency upon God and in a loving interdependency with others. We are the body of Christ, collectively. I cannot do my part without all the rest of you and vice versa. When any of us tries to be independent of the others, we fail. God has given us all gifts and those gifts are meant to be shared. We are made to carry our burdens and our joys together. I know it can be scary to make new friends, join groups and reach out for help, but you are being a Christian when you do so. If you feel prompted to connect to our church in some new way, or maybe you are looking for a group or class to join, please reach out. We will help you, because that is what the Body of Christ does. We work together. 

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for providing me with people who have loved me and shaped me along the way. Thank you for the Holy Spirit you have provided as my guide. I am grateful that I am not alone in this world. Please show me the ways I need to order my life so that I may be a blessing and a guide to others. Open my heart to the Spirit’s leading and give me courage to follow. Amen.