One family

We are of The Lord’s family, Amen

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
John 1:12

“See what kind of Love The Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”
Ephesians 2:19-22

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
1 John 3:1-2

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Galatians 6:10

“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
1 Corinthians 12:26

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:5
We are One Body but Many Parts
“There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as He wanted it to be.

(We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV))

If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And He has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (NIV)
We have been blessed as one family; Jews or Gentiles. Yes, we all worship One God, Amen
Back, eons ago, The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-27 (ESV)

We are all part of The Body, Amen
Do you ever wonder what Paul was getting at with that whole ‘body of Christ’ metaphor for the Church? He mentions it not once, but on five separate occasions, in Romans 12, Colossians 1, Ephesians 3 and 5, and most substantially in 1 Corinthians 12.

Given the number of times he brings the idea up – writing to four different corners of the Church – it’s clearly something he wants us to grasp and take on board. Yet if we’re honest, the familiarity of the phrase tends to make it wash over us. We don’t necessarily think of ‘body’ as meaning anything more than a substantial amount, as we would in the context of a ‘body of work’ or a ‘body of water.’
Leonardo body
Luc Viatour/Wikimedia Commons’Vitruvian Man’, Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of what he believed was the perfect body.

I don’t think that’s what Paul is getting at however, and if we miss the metaphor, then I think we also risk missing the important message contained within it. The passage in Corinthians is explicit in comparing the Church to a physical human body, and goes into some detail about the idea – even breaking it down into its component parts. Overall, Paul’s point is about the unity and diversity of the Church, and the fact that while we’re all different and carry varied gifts, we all need each other. But I wonder if he also gives us an opportunity to consider a more granular series of metaphors, as we think about those different body parts and what they might represent.

Paul writes: ‘Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body’ (verse 15) and ‘If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?’ (verse 17). So what is the foot of the Church, or the hand, eye, ear or nose? Are those an irrelevant extra layer of meaning? I don’t think so. At the end of that same passage, Paul refers to the component parts of the Church more directly: as ‘apostles,’ ‘prophets’, ‘teachers’ and ‘miracle workers’. So which ‘body part’ corresponds to each of these? And what does that deeper layer of analysis tell us about the church? Without any claim to know the mind of Paul, here’s what the various parts of the human body might correspond to in Paul’s great church vision.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s