Friday, January 25, 2013

One Body

I read a devotional this morning based on the I Corinthians 12:12-31a passage about the Body of Christ.  The author, Raewynne J. Whiteley said:
This text suggests that every single person in the church matters....This is a reality we can name, which has less to do with equality than with wholeness.  Only with all of our members can the body of the church be whole.
Many of us would take it as a tenant of our faith that everyone should be welcome in the Body of Christ.  This passage asks us to consider more than that, I think.

We worry about church numbers, and seek to find ways to encourage people to attend church.  Sometimes those two thoughts are so closely bound to each other that we are seeking members so increase our church's membership.  That's not evangelism.  That's recruitment, and it's not what we are called to do.

Sometimes we talk about everyone being welcome in church because we have a belief that everyone should be welcome.  That's not bad, but that's not what this quote talks about.  That motivation makes inclusion a matter of equality.  "You are welcome here because I am welcome here."  It's good, but it's not complete.

Imagine your body without one of its parts.  You don't think you need a foot because the hand is welcome to join, and if the hand is welcome, then the foot must also be welcome.  You don't keep your nose around because you need to meet a quota for body parts, and the nose counts.

The body is one unit with many parts.  Together, the body is complete.  Have we ever considered that we must reach out to others to include them in the body Christ because without them, the body is incomplete?  Evangelism isn't a matter of increasing membership or treating everyone the same; evangelism is reaching out to other parts of the body because we must -- because we are incomplete without them.

Note:  The body metaphor breaks down when brought into reality.  Please don't draw the conclusion that I think that those people missing body parts are not complete.  They are.

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