1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NIV)
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 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. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
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. 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. 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? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
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!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor…. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
The passage begins “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” Annamarie gave a memorable sermon on this passage, highlighting the ways each of us brings individual gifts and perspectives to the work of the church. In Messy Church, we were also encouraged to think of our children’s God-given talents and to work harder to verbally recognize those talents. Deirdre and I have found that Erin and Liam really respond to that recognition, which seems to come not just from Mom and Dad, but that each of us was created by God with different strengths and talents.
That passage sets the stage nicely for the one that follows, which is at least as recognizable. Chapter 13 builds on Chapter 12’s description of the “unity and diversity in the body” to recognize the vital role of love in all we do. “If I have a faith that can move mountains but I do not have love, I am nothing.” While I am still working on a faith strong enough to move mountains, I am blessed to have love in my life. To me, the Holy Spirit is love. It is the connection between people that God has given us.
During Lent, I try to remember the world into which Jesus was born, the lessons he taught, and the hope and forgiveness for which he gave his life.
Dear Lord, thank you for the love that binds us together. Amen.