Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Body of Christ

I Corinthians 12:12-20, 26-27
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. 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. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 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. 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. 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? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

We all have different understandings about the meaning of scripture. We all have different views on what the church should be and how it should operate, otherwise we would just be one church. It is possible that Jesus had intended that we would be one church, but I doubt it. He did understand human nature after all.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 saying, “Man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” If we are the body of Christ and his body lives on every word that comes from God, then we can expect to understand those words differently.

Bread is very different to the eye than to the tongue; different to the stomach than the tongue and so on. We are different parts of the body of Christ and we understand God’s words differently just as our body parts understand bread differently. The eye cannot say that the stomach is wrong about bread so why would any of us say that another faith community is wrong about God’s word?

I do not agree with some of the Roman Catholic church’s understanding of God’s word. But that does not make them wrong. I do not agree with their holding to the traditions of men rather than the teaching of God. But I do not agree with the United Methodist church on that issue either. It really does not matter.

Every Christian church and all Christians are all parts of Christ’s body. As Paul said: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised all the other parts share its happiness.”

In this community we are all strengthened by each other’s ministry. When one of us suffers the others help. When one is successful, all rejoice. We are partners in ministry not competitors. The competition is all around us – the devil and his workers. When we work together in ministry we can beat the competition.

Lord, help us show the competition just what your body can do. Help us take your light to people in darkness. Amen.

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