Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
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. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would 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. And if the ear would 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. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 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.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
A commercial on TV caught my attention a few weeks ago. It was a young man, who is a tattoo artist, sharing the challenge during this pandemic of not being able to work and because of that, not being able to fully live into his place in the world. Whether we agree with his choice of profession or not, I hope that we can agree that these past 10 months have been difficult for everyone. It has been challenging to adjust to new roles, to readjust our focus and to learn to adapt to new ways of fully living into our place in this world.
A few days later, over the Christmas break, I watched Soul, the new Disney/Pixar movie. I know there has been a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, about this movie. Whether you think it’s a blockbuster or a flop, my dad firmly believes there is always a redeeming quality in every movie, if you look for it. I agree.
If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but there is a scene where the main character Joe Gardner, who is a middle school band teacher but aspires to make his living playing jazz, goes to get his haircut at his barber shop. During this part of the movie, Joe is experiencing his life from a new and different perspective and he has an insightful conversation with his barber, Dez. Dez talks about his original plan to be a veterinarian, but because of some life situations, he ends up being a barber and a professional listener. The conversation that stuck with me was when Dez talked about the fact that he likes being a barber. “I’m happy as a clam, my man. Not everyone can be Charles Drew inventing blood transfusions… That’s the magic of the chair. That’s why I love this job. I get to meet interesting folks like you, make them happy and make them handsome… I may not have invented blood transfusions, but I am most definitely saving lives.”
It reminded me of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so, we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So, I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So, I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. 27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. We are all essential to the body of Christ. We may not be the one who invented blood transfusions, but we all have a unique and essential role to play when it comes to sharing the love of Christ with the world. Whether we are tattoo artists, barbers, middle school band teachers, jazz musicians or professional listeners, through Christ, we are all saving lives by living into our place in this world and by sharing the saving grace and unconditional love of Jesus with those interesting folks we meet along the way.
Director of Youth Ministries
East Heights UMC, Wichita
Prayer for Reflection
You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is an essential part of it. Fully live into your place in the world. Share the love of Christ with those along the way. Save lives. Amen.
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