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.
—1 Corinthians 12:12
I wonder how Paul might adjust this imagery in today’s world. Many of the members of Bethesda have replaced knees or hips or shoulders. Some have had their gall bladder or appendix removed. What does this all mean for the body of Christ? Should we throw out a perfectly good image just because it may not apply or have problems in certain circumstances? By no means!
We don’t need to overthink this imagery or find the problems it might have in our modern world and instead focus in on what Paul is trying to say. As often happens, the people in Corinth are trying to rank their worth based on the gifts they have. Therefore some in their group would seem to be more valuable than another. Paul uses the imagery of the body to put that idea to rest. He speaks to the importance of the whole body. We can understand the importance of a hand or foot or eyes, but would you want to rank your body parts based on their value for the body to survive? Probably not.
As God’s people we have been chosen in baptism to be part of the body of Christ. And, if all we recognized from this was that every person who has been baptized is vital to this work, then I think we might understand enough. Because as soon as we try to dive deeper into the imagery, then we will sully what Paul is trying to say. Who doesn’t want to be the heart or brain or any other vital organ? But, Paul wants the people of Corinth to understand is that the important thing is being a member of the body. And then, with the other members of the body, live as Christ in the world.
The last two years has been challenging for the body of Christ. We have been using technology to try to hold the body together. And, even though it may not be perfect, it has worked for some. We can too often limit the work of the Spirit in our midst. The body of Christ need not be limited by the walls of any building but instead let us find ways to strengthen this body. Let us find ways to rejoice with one another, lets us find ways to uphold one another, and let us continue to find ways to be the body of Christ for the sake of this community in which we live.