Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Hudos Eetho: Renewal of the Church1 Corinthians 12:12-27
VV.26-27: So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it."
As the liturgical calendar moves into the season of renewal and rededication, we reflect on Paul's letter to Corinth where he explores the functions of the body. He often used common visuals like a soldier's armor, the rigor of an athlete or in this case the human body to illustrate complex theological matters. Here in Paul's analogy to the body, he elaborates on the following:
- All members of the body must act in unity to function.
- Each member MUST act in it's own optimal capacity.
- Each member of the body must understand and recognize the importance of the other different body parts.
We read this passage and understand that we are a part of God's grander plan, but we often forget how integral it is that we navigate our corporate and individual responsibilities well. If we only remember the group's needs and desires while forgetting our own, the body will suffer. Parallelly if we only focus on our own needs and desires, and forget the body's, the overall body will still suffer. Therefore we as a Christian unit MUST uphold both the group's and the individual's needs, so that we may act in accordance to God's will. As a church, we must uphold unity as our highest pillar.
Continuing with this passage, I believe Paul is challenging us as the body to question how well are we abiding in our roles WITHIN the body? Paul reminds us that if the foot doesn't want to be a foot and acts like a hand instead, what good is it for the body? Only when the foot functions as a foot will the body move forward. In the same way, are we abiding with God in our individual roles, so that the overall church can move forward? Are we being faithful with the few things, so that the Lord can entrust us with more, as a faithful steward?
Finally, Paul emphasizes that all body parts are needed for the body's daily functions. Translated through the analogy, I believe Paul is asking us, do we recognize the diversity of giftings within our church communities and are we providing the recognition they need? It is very easy to praise and commend those who's gifts are forefront and visible to the majority, but how often do we uplift those who work in the shadows to keep church going? Do we recognize the seemingly small acts, like those who stay to rearrange after an event is complete, or those who work with the young children in Sunday School, or even those that support the undertakings of the church who don't have an official committee title attached? Are we praising and supporting those who share their giftings of hospitality or encouragement as much as we do for those that preach or sing?
Ultimately we are to work as one unit and Paul implores us to ask, are we abiding in a manner that promotes a healthy body (i.e. the well being of our corporate body of believers)? May the Lord prompt us in this act of self reflection so that we can address the needs of our spiritual body of believers. May these reflections stir our hearts to walk in unity and recognize the richness of all giftings in Christ's church.
Heavenly Father, help me to abide well in You. May Your Holy Spirit reside actively in me and may I recognize His voice and prompting. Allow Your love to fill me, so that I may pour into those around me. Teach me to edify Your church. In Jesus name, Amen.
Thought for the Day
How have I abided with the Lord in this last week? Where do I actively choose to abide with Him in the days to come?
St. Peter's Mar Thoma Church, NJ