Summary: Practicing good health care in the body of Christ.
A Healthy Body
It’s a morning much like any other morning in Riverview, New Brunswick. The sun is just beginning to peek over the eastern sky. Birds are stirring in their nests, reluctantly warming up for their first "good-morning" chorus. A few back doors open just wide enough to let out the family dog for its morning run, and up and down our streets, alarms beep, coffee makers begin to drip and sheets are pulled up over tired eyes in favour of 5 or 10 more minutes of sleep.
But in the middle of this hazy, lazy picture, there’s something else happening. Joggers pull on baggy sweat pants and hooded jackets, swimmers eagerly finish their warm-up exercises and dive into the cool waters of the swimming pool. And members of the walking club bring more activity to the mall at 7 a.m. then a whole day’s worth of busy shoppers. These are the beautiful people. These are the ones who keep fit, look good and stay healthy. These people are committed to a healthy body - and we envy them.
Paul was committed to a healthy body. In Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians and Colossians, Paul uses the metaphor of the physical body to describe the spiritual body of Christ. Because Paul recognized that the Body of Christ - the church - is much the same as our own physical bodies.
Do you remember that little rhyme "The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the leg bone"? Well, we’re all connected. As members of the body of Christ we’re all connected in and through Him. But it’s not something that we really notice much. When you looked in the mirror this morning, did you notice - did you check to make sure everything was connected? Or did you kind of take a look at the overall picture and carry on? If you stumbled out of bed this morning though, and stubbed your big toe, or burnt your finger on the morning toast, you instantly became very aware of the connection. And that’s what it’s like in the church body. All around the world, when one member hurts, when one member gets sick, the whole body feels it. At least we should - if our joints are working right. And we should, as members of one body, be constantly striving to keep the whole body, healthy. It’s not an easy task. But if we’re going to make a difference in our world, as men and women within the body of Christ, then we will have to practice good health care.
Probably the most fundamental thing we have to recognize in maintaining a healthy body, is that our members are connected, and every member is important.
1. Every member is important.
I remember several years ago, I broke my left wrist. And I was so thankful it was my left wrist that I had broken, because I’m right-handed. Well, you know it wasn’t very long before I realized the importance of my left hand also. I could write a letter, but the paper wasn’t very steady. I could brush my hair but I couldn’t hold the hair dryer. I could pull on the zipper, but I couldn’t hold my jacket tight to pull the zipper up. I could even brush my teeth, but only after someone else had squeezed the toothpaste onto my brush!
Paul said that God has combined the members of the body and has given 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. He also says that we dare not say, "I don’t need you!" I’m always a little concerned these days when I scan the self-help section of our bookstores. I read titles like, Co-dependent no more, Ten Myths about a Woman’s Confidence, Finding your real self, Fill My Cup, Lord and Secrets of Your Family Tree. And I can’t help but wonder if we’ve become so self-oriented that we’ve forgotten that this whole thing, life, the universe and everything in it - it’s not about us - it’s about God. It’s about our Creator. He’s made us for his glory. And we bring glory to his name by being in community. He made us to be in communion with one another. Did you ever notice the Genesis account of creation. All through the creation account, we’re told God looks over what he has just created and sees that it is good. God made the light, and saw that it was good. God separated the water from the sky to make the land and seas and he saw that it was good. He made the plants and seed-bearing trees and saw that it was good. He saw that the stars and moon set in the great expanse of sky were good. And then he made the birds of the air, the fish and all the creatures that move along the ground - and God saw that it was good. And then God made man and he said, "It is NOT good ... for the man to be alone." So God made Adam a suitable helper and then, only then, did God look over everything he had made and saw that it was very good. Do you see the implications right from the very beginning? God made everything. And it was good. Then God made community - two people together, in his image - and he saw that it was VERY good.