The Church as the Body of Christ

This Sunday, our scripture lessons include the familiar reading from 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about the church being the Body of Christ, a fitting consideration on the day in which we elect church officers at the Congregational Meeting following worship.

The image of the church as a body is a wonderfully familiar reminder of our interconnectednessand dependenceupon one another. The foot and the hand, the ear and the eye, all the vital organs –each part so varied and distinct, but all necessary for the working of the whole. So too, the church, is filled with a great variety of people and gifts, and yet, by God’s grace, it functions as one body in order to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A deacon cannot say to the church school teacher, “I have no need of you,” when the Education Building is bursting at the seams with happy children learning about the love of God. The church school teacher cannot say to the handbell player, “I have no need of you,” when the Psalms culminate in trumpet, lute, harp, loud clanging cymbals and everything that breathes praising God. The handbell player cannot say to the Hunger Committee, “I have no need of you,” when those folks are bearing witness to why we worship. 

In a time in our country that is marked by deep divisions, the church models a form of transcendent unity by the presence of Christ in our midst. Our elected officials in Washington cannot seem to agree on much of anything across their dividing lines. But those whom we will elect at Sunday’s congregational meeting will know that each church officer, indeed every church member, is essential for the working of the whole. 

We in the church will have diversity of opinion about our ministry and mission, but we have a God-given mandate to function as a coordinated, respectful, incomparable and spiritual whole. By celebrating and affirming differences among us, we model for the world a much-needed vision of human unity.