Posts Tagged ‘one body’

It’s just a phrase, but it reverberates in my soul: Paul’s desire is to be “found in Christ.” The first image that comes to mind is Mother Ginger from the Nutcracker.

Philippians 3:8c-9a
. . . greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, . . .

For anyone out there who hasn’t seen the ballet (shame on you!), there is a scene when a “woman” comes out in a huge dress. Suddenly, the dress opens up and out come a number of small children who do a special dance for Clara and her prince. And really, that’s all I want too. To be “found in Christ,” to be part of his “body” here on Earth as well as in Heaven. To be One with Christ. That’s all.

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We are asked to cultivate unity by using the “bond of peace.” A bond is something like a rope, handcuffs or Gorilla Glue. It’s a connection, a relationship, a hookup. It’s a union, an agreement, a promise. With these, unity is possible. And without, what do we have? Just watch CNN.

Ephesians 4:3-6
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A bond of peace cannot be achieved alone. It takes at least two. Oh, I suppose there is inner peace, but even that comes from an agreement between the mind, soul & spirit. Peace is not achieved by threat, dictatorship or commandment. That is just an absence of conflict. A true bond of peace comes out of mutual desire, love, commitment, and compromise.

There are a couple of people I know from my work who have learned one of the first steps toward creating bonds of peace. One of their distinguishing characteristics is not taking personal offense (even when it’s intended). I watch them in difficult or tense situations and it’s like the verbal attacks or innuendos float across their spirit lakes. They know how to listen fully. They don’t grab onto words or tone of voice and prepare a response ahead of time. They know how to wait. It’s disarming in the best way. In this way, they open a door to unity and understanding.

I want this but I’m not very willing to practice. I confess, I’m always taking offense. I’m always expecting the worst in a situation. I critique the tones, the eyes, the body language and if I come up with an attack assessment, I ready my own arsenal. I’m quick. It doesn’t take long to raise the battle flag.

Unity is all those “ones.” One body, one spirit, one God and so on. Can I let go of mine long enough to enter the One? It begins with small steps, I think. Bonds with family and friends. A peace driven by love.

And so I take a breath today. I take a breath and ask for mindfulness again, to remember, to make peace.

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I love the idea of splendor. The word speaks of expansiveness and beauty. And to think, all earthly bodies have splendor. It is unfortunate our culture has narrowed human body splendor to a few superficial ratings. And worse, we often abuse our own wonder-filled creation.

I Corinthians 15:40
There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.

The body is neither to be worshiped nor desecrated. It is a vessel, a sponge, a unique invention, a tool, and a living organism. It is a gift.

All bodies have great potential when born.

Our first abuse is our habit of limiting the body. In the same way we limit the body, we also limit the mind and the spirit. Why don’t we teach our children to recognize the body for all that it can be and do?

It’s a wonder for today. That’s all. A wonder.

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Interesting concept really, to be mutually dependent. Think about it: we assume a dependent person needs or relies on someone else for protection or caregiving, or knowledge even. But mutual vulnerability implies that each person has his/her own set of weaknesses and strengths, both needed and provided by one another.

Romans 12:4-5
For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, so we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].

This basic idea is the foundation of teams in the workplace. The combination of skills and strengths leads to higher levels of understanding and success. God is asking no less of the body of Christ. Unfortunately, many of us tend to sit back and allow others to do their thing while we absorb all their good stuff, giving little of what we are good at doing back.

Churches are filled with folks who show up regularly on Sunday mornings but rarely extend themselves beyond the pew. So many of us make excuses as we watch talented folks sing, preach, play instruments, run committees, and lead classes. We tell ourselves we have no abilities in those areas and therefore, nothing more can be demanded. But what are we good at doing?

I know there is an entire teaching on those verses about being strong in weakness [II Corinthians 12:10] and how God will give us what we need if we step up to the plate. And I don’t really disagree. However, I also think we may be missing something valuable in the church: taking advantage of the gifts people do have, gifts that may not seem useful at first blush but could be used creatively for the body of Christ.

Church life is so locked up in tradition; sometimes there’s little room for innovation and creativity. More than likely, where I am weak, there is someone else who is strong. And where I am strong, it is up to me to offer those strengths for the edifying of those who are weak.

People think of me as strong, but truthfully, I am not “all that.” There are many places and times where I am foolish and insecure, just like anyone else. I am lonely and do not have many close friends. I am a spendthrift and spend money on the wrong things. I make quick judgments. I fill my schedule to overflowing, doing too many things acceptably well, but not really well. I am performance-oriented and put high expectations on those around me. But I am also funny and energetic. I like to draw people together. I like to be the hostess. I like to plan events and watch others enjoy the fruits of those labors. I am smart enough to enjoy reading, studying, and observing others. I love change and new things. I enjoy being with people. I enjoy teaching what I know and writing. I enjoy discovery. But I am not particularly spontaneous because I am also fearful of making mistakes. I can be a control freak. But I can also create something out of nothing.

These are my “I am’s” today.

But, there are people around me who are strong in my weak areas. I want to reach out to them and allow myself to be weak with them. I want to be part of the balance in the body of Christ.

I surrender that part of myself today that has been hiding. It’s time.

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