The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:21-27 (NIV)
Following on from the discussion of spiritual gifts in our previous post ‘The Common Good’ (24th August), Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 12 to remind his readers that in the body each part is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. If any part is missing, or not functioning correctly (not using its gifts), the whole body suffers.
Paul goes on to state that his readers (the church at Corinth) are collectively the ‘… body of Christ …’ and that each person is ‘… a part of it’.
The imagery of the human body and the body of Christ is used to ensure that we understand that although the church is made up of individuals, it is to be seen as a whole unit, working together.
Paul states that in the the body of Christ there should be:
- no division;
- equal concern for each other;
- suffering together;
- rejoicing together.
Is this the picture of your church fellowship? If not, what may be preventing the members acting collectively, being concerned for each other, and suffering and rejoicing together? It might be that the quality hinted at the end of 1 Corinthians 12, as the ‘… more excellent way’ is missing, or in short supply. 1 Corinthians 13 starts by clarifying what ‘… the more excellent way’ is; it is love.
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