One Body (30-01-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 103:13,17-18
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.
Bible Reading: Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:27
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
French was never my strong point at school but, for some unknown reason, I did much better learning New Testament Greek when I was at theological college. From both of them, though, I learnt more about English grammar than I did in my English lessons at school. Specifically I learnt about verb tenses and that what we translate in English as ‘you’ is different in both French and Greek, depending on whether it is singular or plural.
When St Paul writes, ‘You are the body of Christ’, I wonder whether you read that as ‘you’ singular or ‘you’ plural. Is he referring to you as an individual or to the church in Corinth as a whole?
The answer is that the ‘you’ in plural.
It is true that, when we put our faith in Jesus, he comes to live within us individually through his Holy Spirit, but in terms of his analogy between the church and the human body, St Paul is saying that we together are the body of Christ. Like the human body, we are one body with many parts, many gifts, and that these gifts have been given to us by the grace of God.
I wonder what gifts you might think you have and how you respond to the idea that they have been specifically given to you by God.
How might this idea affect the way you might use your gifts?
It probably doesn’t help to take the analogy with the different parts of the human body too far, but where might your gifts fit within the church? Could they become part of the pastoral care or the hospitality? Could they be used to enhance the worship, the mission, the teaching or the administration? Do you have an affinity for working with children, young adults or older people?
Just as the human body is seriously impaired if one part is poorly, painful or even lost, so the church is impaired if one of the members is out of sorts or absent. Is there anyone you know who is struggling at the moment or who has become disconnected to the church? Could you think of a way to help them find their way back?
Holy Spirit, breathe new life into your body, the Church, we pray,
And help me to use the gifts you have given me for your glory and to serve others.
Brother, sister, let me serve you.