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Sunday, August 16, 2015
Today’s Reading | 1 Corinthians 12:12–31
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. 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.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 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; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 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. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
While this passage does talk about the body of Christ and how we all act as a different part of that body, I feel that it can also apply to our own bodies. When my heart hurts, when I am heartbroken, I feel the physical pain. It shows how interconnected our own body can be.
When we hurt our foot or arm, it prevents other parts of our self to experience joy in some capacity. When I had a stress fracture in my foot a couple of years ago, I was unable to run, something I love doing after work—especially in the summer. So in turn I felt that effect everywhere, including my mental health and physical health.
In this passage the same is true for Christ’s functioning body, his people. Each person plays a role in God’s story. We all have a part; we are all uniquely shaped and formed to live out what God wants. The more we can appreciate these small details, the more we can appreciate the larger story that God wants to tell. We are all built completely differently to move and act together, relying on, caring for, and appreciating one another and one another’s differences. If I hurt my brother or sister, I am weakening the movement that God wants. The more we are able to comfort and care for each other and their part when they are not functioning, the greater strides we will make towards God’s plan for each of us.
Lord, you built me and my neighbor to be different, to be unique. Help me to appreciate my own individuality and others’ so that I might better understand how we have been created to work together. In your name. Amen.
Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning
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