Paul’s favorite image

18 Feb

Good Morning,

I think Paul’s favorite image for the community of faith is the body of Christ.  We use this phrase sometimes, but it was Paul who originated it and gave it meaning. The interdependence of the Christian community on God and on each other is not emphasized in our thoroughly independent culture.  We hate thinking we need to depend on anyone to do what we need to do or attain what we want to attain.

Paul makes it clear that first, as Christians, we are never independent from each other and if we aren’t connect to the Divine, we can’t do anything at all.

4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

So, if we find our meaning and function as a part of Christ’s body, then there is no pridefulness about what we do.  It is by God’s grace that we do anything at all and by interconnectedness of the Christian community that we find meaning in what we do.  It is a great way to understand who we are and what we are called to do.

So, Paul writes. . .

6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

How often our arrogance, pride, and sheer stupidity take over and we think we are ‘all that’.  It is the Divine Presence that bring life and meaning to whatever we do.

No one is a island.  Amen.





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