Wednesday, April 06, 2011

All About Love


"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.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. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 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? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." I Corinthians 12:12-20

The picture of solidarity that Paul paints for us in this text is striking. Two things stand out. First, we exist in a world in which power and position are extremely valued. Because of that, we have a hard time believing Paul when he says that the body’s “parts should have equal concern for each other.” God gave the gifts, and to God, we are all equally valuable in the Kingdom. God chooses to whom the gifts are given, and God is a God whose dream for creation is a dream of solidarity, equality, and mutual submission. It should be the church’s greatest joy to embody that dream on earth.

Second, our North American value of individualism often takes precedence over the Kingdom value of community. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely wrapped up in myself – I am my own biggest fan most of the time. Until we begin to embody the Kingdom value of community, selfishness and individualism will continue to trap us into ineffective mission and witness. So, what do we do? How do we begin to embody community? How do we work together as a body, equally valuing each member? Keep reading, Paul tells us the most excellent way...