Spiritual truths often come to us through figures of speech, especially via metaphors. Jesus used metaphors to explain who He was, or what He was about. For example: “I am the good shepherd.” “I am the truth”. Metaphors challenge and tease the mind to work; they invite participation.
Paul, in Romans, I Corinthians, and Ephesians, speaks of the church as the body of Christ. This is a rich metaphor. The biblical phrases: “Christ in you”, and “in Christ”, come to mind. The small preposition in conveys a sense of closeness, even intimacy. If the church is the body of Christ, then the members of the church, in some mystical way, are a part of Christ. Dare we say that the church is Christ present on earth?
This metaphor calls for a stretch in the way we think of ourselves. We readily think of ourselves as Canadians, or Americans, or whatever nation we belong to, but when it comes to religious belonging, don’t we think of ourselves as Christians? And does that not have a personal and individualistic ring to it? The challenge is to think corporately: I am a part of the body of Christ. This calls for we thinking. I am not the body of Christ; but we, that is, many millions of others and I, together, are the body of Christ.
It appears that Christ is present in a special way when persons are together in His name. Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” [Matt. 18:20]
There is a kind of submission called for to achieve body. The “two or three” who gather do so of their own free will. Not only that, there has to be a recognition that the others are just as integral a part of Christ’s body.
Body is not a static thing therefore; it is alive. The body is a living dynamic organism, involving wills, emotions, minds, and personalities, interacting in worship, service, decision making, etc.
Because the human component of the body is so visible, and because individualism is so ingrained, it takes some discipline to remember that it is Christ’s body. But what more noble sentiment to sustain one than to know that one is – that we are – part of Christ?
Enlarge our “we-thinking”, and open our eyes to the greatness of your Body.