Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Nehemiah 8:1-3 5-6 8-10 (Ezra reads the law); Psalm 19 (The law revives the soul); 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a (You are the body of Christ); Luke 4:14-21 (Jesus reads the prophet Isaiah)
There is something sweet about the fellowship of a church that is in harmony with God. The preaching may not be perfect; the song service may even be a little off key, but you can tell that God is working in that place. There is joy among the people. They may not always agree with each other, but they always respect each other. When a brother or sister is dealing with sin, they are loved, not condemned.
I think that’s what Paul was thinking about when he described the church as a body. In the reading from 1 Corinthians today there are a couple of interesting ideas. In verse 12, Paul mentions Paul talks about many parts forming one body so it is with Christ. Did you catch that? You might have expected the phrase “the Church” but Paul is making the point that the church is a living body…and it is the body of Christ on earth today. He goes on to talk about the purpose of the body. “But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 24b-26) Each part of the body, and he means us when he says that, is important in building the body up. We should have no division in the body. If someone promotes division on anything but the essentials of the faith, they are tearing down the body of Christ. Can we have differing opinions on what God’s teaching may be in some areas? Yes, of course. But our differences in those areas shouldn’t drive us apart. Differences in dogma; in the essential beliefs of Christianity will drive us apart. If you are in a church that is arguing over the divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, or the Virgin Birth, for example, you may need to rethink your presence in that church. (Those are some of the things I think are faith essentials. It would be interesting to see your list in the comments) But God put us together to perform His work, to be the body of Christ in a world that still needs to know His love and redemption. Because of that we laugh together and cry together. Most of all we share His love together.
Lord God, help me to get my heart right with You every day. Let me be a part of Your work in Your church that is working in unity to show Your love to others.