Spiritual Unity in the Body

On occasion, life circumstances prompt biblical thoughts. For example, I recently injured my shoulder joint playing Frisbee (one of life’s great joys – the Frisbee, not the shoulder injury). I was worried, and went to the doctor, and have now received prescribed remedies and a long time of waiting before I can put my shoulder back into action again. It surprises me, whenever I am injured, how essential the injured component of the body is to every other part – how the pain in the one is felt by all; or at least, it is in the natural body.

Paul talks about the united nature of the body when he writes in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26:

        12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

The body of faith, to many, does not seem to respond the way that the natural body does. In many ways, the natural body seems to excel the spiritual body of Faith in this regard, for it’s nervous system immediately reports to all members what is happening with one. But this is yet another reason for why we should meet together consistently, and why we are called to be in devotional fellowship together: meeting together to know each other, so that we feel each others pain, know each other’s sorrow and can support each other.

The life-blood of the body is Christ, and he is carried by the whole spirit but transported throughout the body by different members – we ought to turn our hearts to the distribution of our wealth in Christ to the other members of the body so that none might be poor in encouragement or spirit.

Injury for one allows others to offer comfort, as Paul writes again in 2 Cor. 1:3-6:

            Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Let us be first friends in Christ, so that we may have an awareness of each other in Christ, and then let us comfort one another in Christ by and through the comfort that we ourselves have in Christ. Let the Gospel be the healing of the body. Amen.

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