Part of the Whole (10 October)

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.

1 Corinthians 12.12-26

Reflect:

Being a Christian not only means belonging to God; it means belonging to everyone else who belongs to God. It means being a part of a whole: a body (12.13), put together by God himself (12.24). We have no choice but to engage with the rest of the body.

There is glory and joy in this - we benefit from the abilities and gifts of others; we are cared about, we are needed. There is also pain and difficulty - we feel the wounds of others, and we are bound up in a huge and complex organism we can’t control.

Respond:

Are you playing your part in the body of Christ? Are you happy when part of the body is honoured, and do you feel the pain of a part that is hurting? Spend some time reflecting and praying about your level of participation in your faith community.

Midday Meditation:

“Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Evening Reflection:

It is truly wonderful
    when *[God’s people] live together
    in peace.
 It is as beautiful as olive oil
    poured on Aaron’s head
    and running down his beard
    and the collar of his robe.
 It is like the dew
from Mount Hermon,
    falling on Zion’s mountains,
where the Lord has promised
to bless his people
    with life forevermore.

(Psalm 133.1-3 CEV)

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