Summary: The nonverbal communication that we are Christians comes in the form of service that we do for others.
Bonnie Brechill tells a story about her 5 year old daughter Crystal, who recently met an Amish girl her age. Within minutes they were off, hand-in-hand, to play. “I caught glimpses of them chattering and giggling,” Bonnie says. “Even though Sylvia, the Amish girl, spoke a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, she and Crystal got along well.
Later I asked Crystal, ‘Could you understand anything Sylvia said to you?’
‘No,’ she replied.
‘But you played so nicely together. How?’
‘Oh, Mommy. We understood each other’s giggles.’”
These two little girls had communicated with each other with nonverbal communication.
Body language. Its the way we communicate who we are and what we are about without using words. You know, sometimes we can profess with our mouths something about us and profess with our body language a completely opposite or different message, can’t we?
Paul wrote in this letter to Christians in Corinth about the body of Christ and their body language.
What does Paul have to say about body language, particularly as it relates to the Christian body? Well, first lets look at who were these people Paul wrote to.
Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth because of divisiveness and lack of compassion of the Corinthian Christians toward one another.
Corinth was a commercial and religious hub. And by that I mean there was great wealth and commerce coming through that region, and there was a great diversity religiously and culturally speaking.
Corinth was a hopping place. I guess you could say that Corinth was one of the “in” places to be.
Corinth was known for its superficially cultural life, for being a place of fads where the new “in” thing was happening. For some, perhaps, being Christian was in some ways the cultural “in” thing to do.
Corinth had a reputation for its wealth and culture. It reminds me of the reputation of New York’s Greenwich Village Beatnik population of the 60’s & 70’s. It was the new popular place to be.
Corinth was known as “Sin City.” It reminds me of the reputation of Hollywood, California, when the stereotypic young adult tries to break into the entertainment business and becomes a victim of those who prey on them.
Corinth was full of decadence and those who took advantage of others, made gains at the expense of others.
Corinth had a very visible well-to-do section, and a much less known preponderance of poor people. This, my friends, reminds me of Conway. We look around and see “Mayberry.” A well-to-do, powerful contingent has gone to a lot of effort to promote the best that Conway has to offer and has been very good hiding most of the skeletons in our city’s closets. We don’t see a lot of the other side of Conway visibly, but its there.
Corinth was much the same way.
The wealth and cultural aspects of this community was its forefront -what was “advertised” the most - what Corinth was known for.
All this great diversity of wealth and culture came together in the Corinthian church. In many respects the Corinthian Christians had great difficulty filtering out their social and economic diversity to come together as a group of believers in Christ.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth because of their divisiveness and lack of compassion for one another, and he used the metaphoric language of the body to tell them first of all, we are one. And the way we become one is through baptism.
“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... have been baptized into the one body.”
Each of us has something different to offer in the marvelous and diverse way God has created us and we each have a different role to play as a part of the family of God...but its interesting that Paul brings up our baptism to signify our unification into the body of Christ.
Baptism is a gift freely given to us by God, but when we receive it, we are saying something about ourselves. To play on the metaphor that Paul has chosen, baptism becomes for us, a form of body language.
Here at Grace, when we are baptized, we answer, “Yes.” to the following questions. Listen while I ask these questions. Maybe even close your eyes. Whether you have actually been baptized or not, see if you can affirm these questions. See if you can say, “Yes,” in your heart:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
Do accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
Do you confess Jesus Chrsit as your Savior,