Many parts, One function



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 the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NRSV

In Paul’s references to the “Body of Christ,” it is easy to follow the analogy of different parts of the human body all working toward one purpose. A hand performs a different function than a foot, a nose, or the ears, but they all are part of the same body, and the better their efforts are coordinated, the better performs the body.

But, this only hints at the true complexity of the Body of Christ, and its analogous representation in the human body. Beyond the limbs and organs, our bodies can be broken down to the level of individual cells, each similar in our DNA, and yet each different in its course and function.

To the best of scientific reasoning, there are about 37 trillion cells in the human body. Those can be divided into about 200 different types, each with unique functions. A liver cell cannot be a blood cell, which cannot be a brain cell, which cannot be a skin cell, and so on. They all are different, and yet each is dependent on the others to reach their full potential – to become, together, the realization of the human form.

And so it is with our human family. Today there are about 7.5 billion of us, and we each are different, called to perform different functions in realizing the Body of Christ. And yet, despite our many differences – just as cells in the body are different, but all share common DNA – we all share in common the Spirit of Christ.

Just as our cells depend upon one another, so to do we depend on each other. And when we all begin to act according to our DNA – when we surrender selfish ambition and live in our common Spirit – then the Body of Christ will come alive, and realize its true potential to build God’s Kingdom.

Lord, help us today to focus not on our differences, but on our common birth in your likeness, and our common purpose of building up your Body. Amen.

Leave a Reply