“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. … The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ … But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 21, 24b-27 ESV)
Is that the sound of jealousy I hear? “I’m just a foot, so I’m not really part of the body like a hand is.” “I’m just a lowly ear—not an eye—so I don’t matter at all.” It might be jealousy—or it might be a ridiculously low sense of self-esteem. What it isn’t, is good for the body.
And then there’s “I don’t need you,” said by basically anybody to anybody else. What is that? Anger, pride, hatred, prejudice—so many things.
None of this stuff belongs in the body. All of it is potentially deadly. When a human body starts attacking itself, we call it an immune reaction gone bad. It can lead to hospitalization and even death. When it happens in the body of Christ, well …
What keeps a human body from attacking itself? There are molecules on the surface of each cell that act like ID. They say to the body, “I am you. I am a good thing. Keep me safe and don’t attack me!”
What do we have in the body of Christ? We have “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:3b-6 ESV). These are the things that make us one body, in spite of our differences—the things that unite us, that make us one in love.
What should we do when we see conflict in the body of Christ? Then it’s time to appeal to our one God and Father, to send out the one Holy Spirit to unite us in our one Lord Jesus Christ. He can do what we cannot do. He can take the most wildly different people—people who would never cross each other’s paths in the normal course of events—and make them closer than brothers and sisters. Jesus has made us one through His death on the cross—all redeemed together, all clean and new and sharing in His resurrected life. He can and will live through us, filling us with love for one another—and for the world Jesus sends us out into.
Prayer: Dear Lord, make me to live in peace and love with the members of Your body. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Speaking playfully, what would you consider yourself in the body of Christ—an eye, a liver cell, a big toenail?
2. Speaking seriously, what function do you think you play in the body of Christ at this time?
3. What gifts has He given you to carry out your function?