Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The implications of being part of a body

So, what are the implications for us if we are part of that body of people called the church?

1 Corinthians 12:4-13 (The Message)
‘God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
wise counsel
clear understanding
simple trust
healing the sick
miraculous acts
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. ‘

So, this is how it works when we seek to live as Jesus taught us: together, all together. Different, yet all part of the same organism.

One of the most important things is to recognise each other's strengths and abilities that God has given each of us. Difference can be threatening: but if we can appreciate and celebrate our diversity, remaining close, we can live and work together, pulling in the same direction. Rather like a sports team - people play in different positions with different skills, yet all aiming at the same goal.

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