May 25, 2021
1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 27 NIV
Mount Hermon United Methodist Church
Tennessee Valley District
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
“Unity and Diversity in the Body” is the caption above this passage of Scripture in my Bible. Most of us have read, preached, and drawn upon this passage for reconciliation in times of disagreement, conflict, and pain. I don’t know about you, but I am really weary of both disagreement and conflict within the Church! For the most part, the Holston Conference has been very civil during trying times prior to, during, and now “pre-post” pandemic. Whether it has been politics, Covid, or racial tensions, we have remained the Body of Christ.
I don’t know if your body has ever been at odds with itself. There have been times when my arms and hips were ready to get rid of my right foot. Years ago I developed growths on my plantar fascia that ultimately resulted in a surgery to remove the entire ligament from the heel to ball of my foot. If it could go wrong, it did: post-op infection, incredible pain, sutures popping because the skin was too thin from the fibromas that had worn it down. The body was sympathetic and tolerated the foot as it healed. The arms and hips didn’t complain at all and the mind held the body together with reassurances that we were trading the chronic pain for the acute pain, and this too shall pass.
What followed was described by my podiatrist as “a scourge from Hell.” Porokeratosis is a condition that affects less than 200,000 people in the U.S. Ever had gravel get in your shoes? That is what it feels like when the little demon keratomas develop on the bottom of your foot. Over the course of five years and twenty plus procedures, the hips and arms said to the foot “I don’t need you!” It became so bad that the foot cried out “Amputate me! I do not belong to the body!” It was tired of getting shots, chemo, incisions, sutures, and experimental treatments. The body was divided against itself.
Thankfully the mind continued to remind hips, arms, and foot, “But 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.” The body is still together.
Friends, now we are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. We each have a unique and special role to fulfill within the body, the church. When we find ourselves grumbling about another member of the body, we are only hurting the church. When we allow those who grumble against us to cause us to desire to leave the body, we are only hurting the church! This happens if we do not listen to the mind of the body. Christ is the head of the body, the mind of his church. Let us listen and be united, even as we are different. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
O God, we pray for unity in our diversity. We pray for the Body, the Church to come together for the purposes Jesus established her. We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in the days ahead. Help us to love each member of the Body, as You created and love each one. – Amen