“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body… If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-20,26
I worshiped in a congregation last week who, during their prayer time, mentioned several members in specific need, then pled for those grieving after another mass shooting in their state. At home, prayer was focused on the violent storm destroying homes and lives. All of us gathered in unity, serving the same God, each concerned for the particular part of the church that was suffering. It was a beautiful picture of the Body.
Around the world, those who know Christ hurt and rejoice in distinct cultures, under different regimes, with unique challenges and pressures, yet in Him we are one. We are not meant to be able to do everything, but we can live fully our part, giving strength and support to others who pull their weight in their place and gifting that the Body function healthfully as a whole. It is important for me to be aware of what others are suffering, where God is moving in mighty ways, where there are great needs, so I can care about more than just my little jurisdiction of life. While we cannot know and do everything, we can open ourselves to care for God’s Body where we are, and expand our love to spread abroad as He leads. “You are… members of the household of God,.. 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.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Lord, enlarge my heart for Your universal church. Wrest me off of myself and out of my small provincial world to exercise myself for Your larger Body. Direct my love and efforts to build up Your people, wherever You would have me be, whatever You want me to do, for Your honor and glory. (1 Peter 2:5)