12 Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. 13 We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14 Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15 If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 16 If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19 If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body? 20 But as it is, there are many parts but one body.
The Church is one body, even despite our individual parts. So here’s a quick hypothetical question in the game of “Would You Rather….”
If you were forced to choose, would you rather live without your sense of sight or your sense of hearing? What about your sense of touch or your sense of taste? It’s a tough choice and one we wouldn’t want to make if we didn’t really have to. In your imagination, if you were asked to be without some other body part, perhaps an arm or a leg, part of your head, your heart, or brain… I am sure you would be saying, “No thanks, I am sure I need all my parts!”
Perhaps you’d say to me, “Well, how about if I give up just a few extra fat cells, a kidney or maybe some of my weird hair?” No, the total of our human parts defines who we are. We do need all our parts and even the ones we are sure we could live without just to be our unique selves. Our parts are part and parcel of who we are, and we can’t just as easily change them out, like changing the parts of a car.
Likewise, by 1 Corinthians 12, we are reminded that the Church is one body. Here the image of Christ is used to lead us to the vision of the Church as one beautiful and complete body just as it is. We are reminded that we are the living representatives of Christ’s body on earth. As the larger whole body that is the Church, we need those that can hear, just as much as we need those that can see. We need those that know what we don’t know, just as we need those that see the world in ways that we do not.
So let this scripture also remind us that we have two choices: either we continue to divide and separate ourselves or we continue to love one another, despite our differences.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Most of us know people within our church with whom we don’t always see eye-to-eye. Often churches divide and decide to say, “Well, this group is not a part of us” when it comes to others we see differently. How can and do we love one another in the world, despite our differences?
Prayer: Holy One, thank you for the incredible full body and life that your Church represents to the world. May we always see and know each difference as a part of you. May we value all that you are in the world. Amen.