Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.
For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. If the foot were to say, “Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, “Because I am not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear? And if it were only an ear, how could it smell? As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part! As it is, there are many parts but one body.
So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Nor can the head say to the feet, “Well, I don’t need you!” On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; and those parts that we think aren’t worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care; while the parts of the body which don’t look very nice are treated with special modesty, which the more beautiful parts do not need. God himself has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honor to those parts that need it. And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.
All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.
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This is my favorite Bible passage. My father was a Bible scholar, minister, and teacher. After he retired, he lived in a retirement village where people were encouraged to have a badge made with their names on them and some description of introduction to others. He had put on his badge, “One Body Ministry.” I wish more of us would be of this mind and purpose. One of my greatest sorrows is that it is rare to find a Christian community in the U.S. that fulfills the words of this passage. In this community everyone would have a part to play and something to contribute–even those of different limitations such as that of M.E. or other chronic illnesses. Children, adults, elders, parents, singles, etc. would all have important roles. There is no reason why any community of size could not focus on this. I will write another comment on the post about Independence Day soon. Just wanted to share my immediate response to this post. I have several more thoughts to share in response to the longer post. So glad you invested the time and energy to write these!
Thank you, Peggy! This passage is a constant challenge to us, isn’t it? So simple, and yet something we must work on every day.