“We are the Body”
God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
1 Corinthians 12: 24-26 (ESV)
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul makes our life together as the Body of Christ very personal. Using a metaphor of the physical body, he describes God’s design for those of us who are Jesus Followers and reminds us how to be in relationship with one another. He tells us how a healthy church (local or universal) is to behave:
To embody a willingness to be moved by the experience of others,
to feel the joy and pain of others,
to utilize the unique gifts and talents we have been given to help the church function well,
to embrace a willingness to work together,
and to see others through Christ’s lens of love.
Finding a way to be in relationship with others- especially when we disagree, take personal offense, or when they “get on our last nerve”- is what I believe this Christian life is all about. We are to live and work together following the example of Jesus, but I can’t say we’re doing such a great job of it! In our denomination, in our country, and in our churches, God is calling us to find ways to honor, respect, and work with one another; to lovingly stand together, while acknowledging the distinctive perspectives we may have.
Our human tendency to judge and to think less of others is rampant these days. In our need for affirmation and worth, there is increased fear and a decreased respect for others- common courtesy even- as we try to build ourselves up by putting others down. Oh, that we would choose to go to Jesus, surrendering our whole heart to Him and humbly asking Him to change our hearts and to help us grow in His love. Instead of pointing fingers at others, I pray that we may have the courage to ask, “Lord, what do You want me to learn? What needs to change in my life?”
I believe a Namaste heart posture, where “the Divine Light in me bows to the Divine Light within you” is necessary. Culturally, we’re not used to physically bowing to others, but what might that practice do for our heart condition? Just maybe, we could begin to see one another as beloved children of God and to value each other with equity and reciprocity.
In an academy setting years ago, Rabbi Rami Shapiro relayed a belief from Jewish tradition. He shared that every person on earth has a personal Heralding Angel walking ahead of them, loudly proclaiming, “Behold! Here comes the image and likeness of God!”
In the days ahead, may we intentionally listen for those Heralding Angels as we interact with others.