Last Sunday, the second reading in church was from 1 Corinthians 12. As I heard it, I thought about how it could be applied to some of the struggles going on in the modern-day Christian church.
The original text uses a metaphor of the different parts of the body to illustrate how all people have a role to play in body of Christ. But the disputes that this passage was meant to settle are not the same ones that our churches are currently struggling with. What if we were concerned not about divisions between Jews and Greeks, slaves and freepersons, but between other differences that now divide us?
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether men or women, whether gay or straight, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. If the woman says, "Because I am not a man, I am not a part of the body," she is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the gay man says, "Because I am not straight, I am not a part of the body," he is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the straight man cannot say to the gay man, "I have no need of you"; or again the man to the woman, "I have no need of you."
On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
(Adapted from 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, NASB; the last paragraph has not been altered)
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