Where Would the Body Be?

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 12:19-20, 24b-26
If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Reflection: Where Would the Body Be?
By Jon Polk

Ever stubbed your pinky toe? Or hit your funny bone? There’s nothing funny about it. It hurts! Even the seemingly most insignificant, minuscule, overlooked parts of our body let us know when they are in extreme pain.

The human body is one of the most complex systems in existence, with 206 bones, over 650 muscles, almost 8 pounds of skin, and numerous ligaments, veins, and arteries. Intricate complexity, yet with remarkable unity.

It is no surprise that Paul utilizes the image of the body as a metaphor for the Church. After all, it was a common ancient image to describe systems and structures. However, body imagery had mainly been used to emphasize and enforce hierarchical social structures, ensuring that each person was kept in their proper place.

Paul’s view of the Church as a body is the exact opposite. Diversity and interdependence of body parts reinforce equality in God’s kingdom. The supposed weaker parts are just as important as the ones that tend to receive more attention.

In his commentary on this passage, Richard Hays writes

“The body is internally differentiated in accordance with the design of God; without such differentiation, the body would be grotesque and helpless, all eye or all ear. For that reason, no member of the body (church) should ever think that he or she is worthless or unimportant.”

Many of our relationships are functional or transactional. What can the hand do for me? Why is the eye not working properly? Foot, why can’t you keep us stable?

The parts (people) that appear to do more, tend to get more attention. And the lesser parts (people) are overlooked. The ear wants to be an eye. The big toe wants to be the heart. We believe the lies that we’re not good enough or important enough to be used by the body.

That’s not how God intends his body to be. Through Christ, we share in one another’s lives. We work for the good of all, not just for our own selfish desires. In God’s design, when the body of Christ is functioning properly, we share burdens and we share joys. In God’s body, every part needs the others.

“How can the hand say to the eye, “I don’t need you, I’ll get by without you.”
How can the eye say to the hand, “I don’t need your touch, you don’t understand what I do.”
Ain’t no use in foolin’ ourselves, you need me and I need you.”
            (“I Need You”, John Cox – Live Performance; Album – “Sunny Day”)

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart. — Psalm 32.12

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Job 25-26 (Listen -1:52)
1 Corinthians 12 (Listen -4:25)

Read more about Making Him Known :: A Guided Prayer
May your prayer for us be fulfilled, Jesus…”I pray for those who will believe…that all of them may be one”

Read more about Hearts God Moves :: Epiphany
One of the gifts of Christ is that we become a part of Epiphany—Christ’s manifestation—as we fulfill our role in the body of Christ.

Chastened Towards Freedom

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 11.31-32
But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Reflection: Chastened Towards Freedom
By John Tillman

Does Paul teach perfectionism? Must we attain holiness by our self-will? In his book, True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer addresses this confusion:

“If I lay hold upon the blood of Christ in faith, reality rests here: not in trying to live as though the Bible teaches perfectionism. That is no basis for reality; that is only a basis either for subterfuge or despair. But there is a reality here: the reality of sins forgiven…This is the reality of restored relationship.”

Schaeffer uses the word “chastening” in his writing, taking it from the New King James translation from which he taught:

“The chastening of a child of God does not have a penal aspect. That was finished on the cross. There is no double jeopardy when the holy God is the Judge. Our guilt is gone, once and forever. Therefore if we judge ourselves, we are not chastened.”

There are multiple words here. The way we are to “judge” ourselves is diakrinō, meaning to separate, to make a distinction, or to discern. The “judgment” (krinō) which believers may avoid is that which means to be sentenced or punished. Instead, we are “chastened” (paidĕuō), which means trained, educated, or disciplined.

We are not taught perfectionism in Paul, but rather confession and submission to the Holy Spirit:

“This is what Paul was urging upon us. It is overwhelmingly better not to sin. But is it not wonderful that when we do sin, we can hurry to the place of restoration?”

Sin does more than separate us from God. We are isolated, marooned and abandoned by our selfishness.

“Man is first of all separated from God, then from himself, and finally from his fellow men and from nature. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will give an absolute and perfect restoration of all these things when Jesus comes. But in the present life, there is to be a substantial healing, including the results of the separation between a man and himself. This is the first step towards freedom in the present life from the results of the bonds of sin.”

May we “judge” ourselves with sober judgment, knowing our Judge is Christ, and yearning to yield to any chastening of his Spirit that may come.
May the Spirit chasten us towards freedom.

*Quotations from, True Spirituality by Francis A. Schaeffer.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick…And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners. — Matthew 9.12-13

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Samuel 31 (Listen – 2:03) 
1 Corinthians 11 (Listen – 4:20)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Samuel 1 (Listen – 3:54), 1 Corinthians 12 (Listen – 4:25)
2 Samuel 2 (Listen – 5:07), 1 Corinthians 13 (Listen – 2:23)

Thank You!
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Read more about Prayer for Older Brothers
One son was humiliated by his own scandalous behavior.
One son was humiliated by his father’s scandalous grace.

Read more about We Confess
The gospel is better served by time spent confessing our own sins than time spent accusing the world of theirs.

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