Many People, One Body (19 February 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.

Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn’t hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn’t smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.

A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. That’s why the eyes cannot say they don’t need the hands. That’s also why the head cannot say it doesn’t need the feet. In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, but we don’t have to be modest about other parts.

God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy.

Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.

(1 Corinthians 12.12-27)

Reflect:

The body as a metaphor for the church works on several levels. On one level, it illustrates how closely bound together we are. Our fellow Christians need us, and we need them. It also demonstrates that diversity and difference are to be expected and embraced. And Paul uses the image to make the point that together we are the physical presence of Christ on earth.

When we gather together in our local church settings, prayer must be at the heart of what we do. We only belong to each other because we belong to Christ. As we pray together, our unity and love cannot help but be strengthened.

Respond:

What do you most enjoy about what you do together as a church? Is it the singing, the sermon, the chatting at the end? Think about the place prayer has in what you do. Are there changes you need to make in your own attitude or in what happens during the service?

 

Midday Meditation:

“Drawing upon the prophet Isaiah, Jesus declares, “My house shall be a house of prayer” (Is 56:7, Luke 19:46). I would love to see our churches become houses of prayer. I know you would too. All too often, however, they are places for everything and anything except prayer. I say this with sorrow, for I believe it saddens the heart of God. True, we need to have our business meetings and our committee meetings and our Bible studies and our self-help groups and our worship services, but if the fire is not hot at the centre, these things are only ashes in our hands.”

(Richard Foster, Prayer)

Evening Reflection:

“What various hindrances we meet

In coming to a mercy-seat!                               

Yet who that knows the worth of pray’r

But wishes to be often there?

Pray’r makes the dark’ned cloud withdraw,

Pray’r climbs the ladder Jacob saw;

Gives exercise to faith and love,

Brings ev’ry blessing from above.

(William Cowper, Exhortation to Prayer)

 

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