1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 24-26
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 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.
24 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.
Paul gives us this analogy of a human body in order to describe how we, as the body of Christ, should function. He makes sure to point out that no part has greater importance than the other. When one part of the body fails to properly work the entire body is sick. If you think about it, even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant body parts have a drastic impact on the overall health of the body. Losing your big toe can cause some issues with balance, an inflamed appendix causes severe pain and vomiting, and a stuffy nose can make you absolutely miserable. Even down to the cellular level this is true, our bodies are made up of trillions of cells and all it takes is the mutation of one cell to quickly become a cancer, a birth defect, or other health challenge.
The same is true for Christ’s church. Every person is important. No person, group, or role in the church is superior to another. Every person bears the image of Christ. Every person is saved by the same grace. Every person is a recipient of Christ’s love. Every person is covered and connected by the DNA of Christ’s blood. Therefore, when one member of the body rejoices, we all have reason to rejoice. Likewise, when one member of the body is in pain or peril, we share in that pain. This is the case in a perfectly functioning body; a body that is sick does not work in the same way.
There are times when an outside force is the cause of a sickness in the body, such as a viral or bacterial infection; there are also times when sickness in the body is because of internal malfunction such as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is when the body isn’t able to properly identify its own cells from those that are harmful and attacks the normal cells. It is often described as the body attacking itself and it causes great pain to the individuals with it.
Racism is the autoimmune disease attacking the body of Christ. When members of the body fail to identify Black men, women, and children as their equals worthy of life, dignity, and wellness; when there’s a failure to recognize that Black voices deserve to be heard and their concerns deserve to be addressed; when the constant pleas for the mere right to live are ignored or drowned out by “All Lives Matter;” when there is even the slightest bit of justification to why a Black life is lost; when property and animals are valued more than a Black life; when a blind eye and/or deaf ear is turned to the injustices against and oppression of Blacks and other persons of color, it is quite evident that the body is attacking the body.
The beauty of the body is that it is actually pretty resilient when functioning properly and it is often able to fight outside forces. The body’s built in defense system works best when all members are working together to do their part. What if all of the members of the body of Christ were functioning properly, doing their part, and working together? We could undoubtedly combat the outside forces of evil such as racism, greed, envy, discrimination, and so much more. The first step to that is recognize all members of the body as worthy members. That requires throwing away the sense of superiority and entitlement and choosing to love and accept everyone. The body is stronger than any attack! We are stronger than any attack! We are the body of Christ!
Great and merciful God,
Help me to see people the way you see them. Help me to see their differences as your personal touch and a reason to celebrate them rather than a source of tension. Search my heart and where there is even a twinge of ill thoughts towards your children, I ask that you replace it with love, acceptance and understanding. Today, I choose to work on loving people the way you love them. In the wonderful name of Christ, I pray. Amen.