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If the Body of Christ has many parts, who is the…

2February2012

PIETISTS PLEASE STOP READING.  YOU WILL BE OFFENDED.  (Chances are, though, that you will initially be offended by this post regardless of where you land on the pietist spectrum.)

The church is the body of Christ.  As members of the Church – which is the body of Christ – we are gifted in a variety of ways.  A way to speak of those differences is to refer to different parts of the body.  Not all of us can be the hand or the foot or the elbow or the fill-in-the-blank; but all of those parts of the body are needed (Romans 12:4-5 and all of the 12th chapter of First Corinthians).  Consider your own congregation, or congregations with which you have had experience.  Given that different members represent different parts of the body… who is the @$$hole in the body of Christ?

Take a deep breath.  Release.  Take another deep breath.  Release.

Remember that our bodies have a built-in waste management and disposal system.  It is a delicate and vital system to our well-being.  If our bodies are not properly disposing of the waste, then we will die.  Our bodies will be poisoned.  We may not talk about it, and certainly not in polite company, but we need our waste management and disposal system to be working properly, even if we would rather not think or talk about it.  (No part of the body can say to another, “I have no need of you!”; the weaker parts of our bodies indispensable – 1 Corinthians 12:21-22)

So who plays that role within the life of your congregation?  If clergy are being honest, they will admit that they can instantly come up with a few names who fit that part of the body.  And, if clergy are being honest, they will admit that when they think of that person, they don’t think of what that person does as a good and salutary thing.  (Lest anyone think I am being clergy-centric, I also know laity who can also come up with names just as readily – but since I am clergy, I thought it more appropriate to point out faults in my own group.)

Please understand that I am not advocating for unhealthy behaviors from congregational members.  If our bodies are endlessly spewing forth waste, that is unhealthy; we will become dehydrated and eventually other vital organs will shut down and we will die.  But we do need to get rid of that waste in ways that are healthy and helpful; in ways that are in accord with the way our bodies were constructed and designed by God.

Who can serve that function in your congregation?  Who is the waste management and disposal in the body of Christ – in your congregation?  Can we see that we need a way to vent – but constructively, in a way healthy and appropriate for the functioning of the entire body?  Can we see that without a way to let the waste out that it ultimately poisons the body?

Consider the person(s?) who came to mind.  In what ways are they being a healthy, functioning member of the body of Christ, doing their part (waste management/disposal) for the body?  In what ways are the being unhealthy – by keeping too much in or letting too much out at the wrong time?

Perhaps most importantly; if you are not that part of the body, how can you help the person who has been placed in that role be a functioning, healthy part of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 12:18-26  18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?  20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,  24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

KMF@CCD

P.S.  I offer thanks to the godmother of my daughter, who passed along the idea to me that if Paul really meant what he said about the church being the body of Christ that somebody must be the… and that person has an important role to play.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    2February2012 18:19

    Ok, I’m laughing out loud… All parts of the body are necessary, and should be valued, even the waste disposal system. Not always easy to remember though! 🙂 I never read those verses without thinking of you as well….

  2. Ronald A Orovitz permalink
    3February2012 11:28

    A provoactive thought indeed! I would like to comment more, but what was really interesting is the avertisement that was tagged onto the bottom today (I don’t know if it changes every day or how often). It was/is an ad for the reinvented Toyota Camry with a very provoactive picture. When I looked at the ad to see who it was from and what it was about it was even more serendipitous with your post.

  3. 3February2012 12:51

    And that’s why we have indoor plumbing and fixtures to sit on. . . because waste that is scattered around is unhealthy and can promote disease. So use the proper disposal system to rid the body of waste and toxins. . . and flush it and let it be gone! 🙂
    ACL

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