It’s that last line that really challenges us and captures our imagination! We have heard often the more familiar teaching of the verse’s opening: that the church is like “one body that consists of many individual parts.” That is comforting because it is good to belong to community. We feel good when cheering at a football game for our team or making music together. When we come from our individual homes and meet up “as church”, we demonstrate to the world that we individuals are “doing our part” for the good of the whole and live for purposes beyond ourselves. We belong.
That first part of the passage is true and good and encouraging to me. We need diversity. We are better together. Everyone has a part and role and a gift to offer for the good of the whole. My home state of Pennsylvania is not a state. Technically it is a “Commonwealth.” We live as members of a community and our well-being is shared with the status of the whole because we are not islands unto ourselves. We rise and fall, weep and laugh as one.
Now some comments on that startling last phrase: “we are members one of another.” Have you ever looked at another church member or friend as someone to whom you belonged? Do you see those in our faith fellowship as belonging to you? That is a challenge! And it is worthy of deep reflection, prayer, and conversation. What does that mean? I invite you to ponder that this day. How is it that we belong to one another…you, me, us and them….as one body? If we truly viewed the world and the church that way, I wonder what would be different in our words, thoughts and actions? Might we love others as ourselves?
When the pandemic started, I saw a lot of banners that read “We are all in this together.” As the year passed, that sense of common unity and purpose has certainly faded. But in many ways, the church has been saying the same for centuries: “We are one in Christ.” Easy to say….hard to do…but worth trying.