The Body of Christ
Updated: Feb 27, 2019
This Sunday is the second of three Sundays with a focus on the message of Paul to the early followers of Jesus in Corinth. Last Sunday we took a look at the context of the Corinthian Christian community- its history as an important trading centre located on an isthmus with two busy sea ports, as well as its reputation for being a place where several hundred male and female prostitutes connected to the temple of Aphrodite were available. The young community of Jesus followers was made up of people from all economic backgrounds and from all parts of the world. It was rife with conflict and confusion about some of the more exotic spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues and prophecy. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he is trying to help them understand themselves and their messy life together. This Sunday we’ll be exploring Paul’s metaphor of body parts to explain how the gifts we are given by God are like the different parts of a person’s body. Each body part is vital and we are made miserable when any part becomes ill or damaged and no longer works properly. Paul also stresses how some body parts are honoured while other body parts are dis-honoured or hidden. He argues that those parts that are considered less honourable should be lifted up and cared for by the whole body more than those parts that are generally considered the most important. Paul’s use of the body parts imagery was a deliberate play on common Roman usage of this “body with many parts” metaphor—the Romans used this image often to explain to the masses the logic of some groups of people being NATURALLY subordinate to other groups of people—just as hands and feet were subordinate to the HEAD of the body. Paul turns the Roman use of this metaphor upside-down for effect to show how the Body of Christ was vastly different from the body of Pax Romana- the Empire.
We all have God-given gifts to bring to the Body of Christ... and to Living Spirit United Church. And our little congregation has important gifts to offer to the larger Body of Christ in the world. This Sunday we celebrate all of the gifts of this community through the Everybody’s Birthday Party following the service—we all ARE gifts to the Body of Christ!!
Rev. Shannon Mang