A seamstress once used “sturdy” to describe my build. I am certainly glad of this designation as it means that in the event of a nor’easter I will not be blown asunder. I shudder to think of the cruel fate that awaits any Victoria’s Secret model forced to endure high winds. But my concern for the frail makes me digress….
In addition to my physical ‘soundness’, I have scars from chicken pox (just try not scratching when you are six years old), rollerblading (knee pads take too long to put on at recess) and ironing (don’t ask). My posterior has taken its cushioning role very seriously. There are other things that I dislike about my physical body but I am not writing here to grouse about them.
No, today I want to pay attention to issues related to a body that isn’t corporeal but is just as essential to the maintenance of life – the Church.
Let’s face it, Christians all struggle with “body issues” when it comes to the Church. We recognize that we are all a part of one body with many members (1 Corinthians 12:12-31) . Yet that doesn’t stop us from secretly or openly disparaging/reviling what displeases us about the body and/or our place within it.
We wrongfully elevate certain ‘nobler’ parts at the expense of others. We forget that “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (v. 22). We create divisions within the body (ministry team vs. ministry team, worship style vs. worship style) and ignore Christ’s mandate that the members “have the same care for one another” (v. 25).
Even when we acknowledge that we are one body, we still succumb to the urge to ‘shape up flabby members’ through the spiritual/theological equivalents of unhealthy crash diets, and short-lived exercise crazes. Just as we are not always interested in pursuing the lifestyle choices that would make us physically fit, we often cannot be pained to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and embrace the spiritual disciplines that will make us healthy and whole as a Church body.
It isn’t enough anymore to simply look at the Church and point out all the flaws of its individual members. We need to acknowledge that we are one body and that our body issues may be rooted in sin. If we do indeed find fault with our appearance, we need to take collective responsibility for it. If any malaise or spiritual paunch is detected, we must seek treatment from the Great Physician. We need to remember that “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (v. 18) and that He knows best how to bring about the health of the body.