12 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. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot should 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. 16 And if the ear should 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. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. –1 Corinthians 12:12-26
My heart is heavy tonight. It is weighted down by the news of the tragedy. It seems that this kind of news has been coming too often these days. And it is unsettling to know that such horrors and sufferings go on in this world. But to then be brought nearer to it through the suffering of someone you know is hard to comprehend. My husband has been preaching through 1 Corinthians. We have been working through chapter 12 for two weeks now. Last night and today he spoke of us being one body in Christ. Unity is Paul’s theme all throughout this book but this particular passage is heady and full of strong implications for us as believers.Once we are Christ’s we become a part of the greater body that God is building and creating. We are joined not by church or denomination or race or wealth or poverty. We simply are one, joined by the shed blood of Christ and his love for us.
Once we are Christ’s we become a part of the greater body that God is building and creating. We are joined not by church or denomination or race or wealth or poverty. We simply are one, joined by the shed blood of Christ and his love for us. In turn we are called to love each other. We are called to love each other as we love ourselves. I don’t think we truly understand or practice that. My husband asked each person to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the petty opinions and divisions that were keeping them from being unified with each other and with God. That was enough in and of itself to think on for weeks but there was still more and this is what I have been thinking on for some time and yet here it is again.Verse 26 says that if one of this body suffers we all suffer together. I feel that our natural response is to think
Verse 26 says that if one of this body suffers we all suffer together. I feel that our natural response is to think within our local church body. And that is most certainly true as our church has found out recently. But I think this is deeper and needs to go out beyond the scope of the people we worship with but also with all believers everywhere. There is too much at stake and too much suffering to allow ourselves to be isolated and self-centered. I think about our city and the people here that are hurting. There have been divorces, a murder, a suicide, a car accident, cancers and heart attacks and so much more just in our community. I am not the nexus but just one of the many in a body that is suffering because others around us are suffering. And there is more, so much more hurting and needing to be loved by a body of believers who loves them.But even as I am heavy with sadness, there is also
But even as I am heavy with sadness, there is also a celebration. The rest of the verse says if one member is honored, we all rejoice together. For while there has been a tragedy, there has also been miraculous healing, reconciliations, salvation and provision. Our hearts can celebrate with each other when good things happen to a member of the body. We have had tears twice at our house tonight. One was death and sadness. The other was death and happiness. Our church has partnered with a missionary in Guatemala. They will soon be taking their second trip to minister to the impoverished people and bring supplies and money to build new homes. The missionary wrote today of a little boy who had become ill many years ago and was unable to stand or walk or even lift his head for many years. Today this boy died. But the missionary wrote about a boy who loved Jesus and called out to God to take him to be with him. The missionary told of a family who loved God and were sad to lose their child but knew who he was with tonight. The missionary spoke of the child now being whole and healthy and able to run as he hadn’t in many years. This boy’s life and death is a story of celebration. Something else occurs to me now. I know that all things in this life- good and bad exist to show the glory of God. And sometimes that takes much faith to remember. But in this instance, we get to see how God is glorified in suffering. How this small child loved and believed even in the midst of his suffering. His parents displayed God’s glory in their loss. God’s love for us is so clear as we know that He took this little boy out of his suffering and restored him in heaven. The glory of God is great and as a body, we also exist to bring God glory. It is imperative whether through shared suffering or shared celebration that we remember to be one body unified through one spirit, one God.