Paul reminds the Corinthians that the church is one body with many interconnected and interdependent members: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Paul had good reason to remind the Corinthians of the importance of community: The church was bitterly divided over such differences as income, social status, opinion, and practice, and they could not seem to find unity or harmony in their life together.
Paul was clear that the health, inclusion, and cooperation of every member of the body is vital for the body to function. But why – for what purpose – is the body itself important? Why does it matter whether the body “works” or not? Simply put – because it is the body of Christ. For Paul, the community’s call to be the body of Christ is not only for its own sake but also for the rest of the world: The church is sent out to embody Christ’s presence so that others may come to know the gospel.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Turn, turn, turn: A time for faithful repentance” by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni in the November 2018 Gather magazine.
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