The human body doesn’t consist of just one part. It has many parts. If the foot suddenly said, “Because I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body anymore.” That wouldn’t change a thing. The foot would still be part of the body. If the ear spoke up and said, “Because I’m not an eye, I’m not part of this body,” it would still go on being part of the body. If the whole body were one giant eyeball, how would it hear anything? If the whole body was just a big ear, how would it smell? 

God, in His wisdom, designed each part of the body for a purpose and put each part in its proper place. If the body was made up of just one part, it wouldn’t be a body. The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Neither can the head say to the feet, “I’ll get along just fine without you!” Quite the opposite. It seems the most important body parts are also the most vulnerable and the parts which we think of as being less respectable, we take great care to clothe with respect. What’s more, the more respectable members of our body go about naked. God designed the body this way so it can take care of itself. The strong parts protect the weak parts and the respectable parts cover the not so respectable parts. This brings harmony to the human body and each part cares for the other. If one part suffers, every part suffers. If one part is honored, the whole body rejoices.

The church is the body of Christ and each person is one of the parts. Though we have many different gifts and purposes, we are all united by our love for Christ and our love for one another.

The Apostle Paul had a gift for the use of parable. His letters, written in the 1st century, to newly formed Christian churches, contain some of the most vivid illustrations in the entire Christian tradition. The fruits of the spirit, the armor of God, running to win the prize… these are all metaphors that shape our thinking to this day. Perhaps Paul’s most memorable parable is “the body of Christ.” It’s a startling image when you think about it. Paul is rejecting the notion that unity is found in uniformity. Writing to a church torn apart by divisions, he is reminding them that it is their diversity which makes them strong. We often lose sight of this when we prize certain kinds of talent over others and make vices of the weaknesses that are not our own. No single one of us can be Christ in the world by ourselves. It is only when each part works together that He is made present.

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…

2 thoughts on “The Body

  1. Most of my relatives are plagued with diabetes, their bodies are not healthy. Some have had to have amputations, toes here, a foot there – in order to save the rest. The church is not a healthy body, there are times it’s heads (of which there are more than it really needs) opts to rid itself of various other parts because they’ve outlived their usefulness, and there are other parts that are unhealthy that it refuses to rid itself of because it’s too important – like the deacon that abuses his wife, his importance overrides his disqualification for his ministry. It’s hard to buy the idea that we’re all needed and we all belong when you know that half the time, all the church wants is for you to be a warm body that sits in the pews or little more than a name on the rolls.

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    1. Thank you for your perspective. Far too many churches match your description of an unhealthy body. Even those of us who are a part of healthy churches fail at times to live up to this ideal. Yet here it is, ever before us. I’m going to think about your challenge. Who are we tempted to discard and who do we fail to include? How are we holding the powerful accountable and how are we lifting up the weak?

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