Theological Thursday – Meddling Pastors Made Me Write This

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Da Vinchi’s “Vitruvian Man”

Have you ever considered your body and each and every one of it’s parts?

Think about it… how amazing is it that your spine holds you upright?  That it can bend so you can touch your toes (theoretically)?

How cool is it that you can put food in your mouth and it will travel through your body, leaving a trail of nutrients as it goes.  Your body will then rid itself of anything it can’t use, all fairly effortlessly (unless you’ve not eaten enough roughage.  Then things may take slightly more effort).

When you stand in the blaring sun your hair will protect your tender scalp from being burned.

When you reach out to touch something your fingertips will tell you when you’ve succeeded and your nails will protect you from cutting that delicate skin on the tips of your fingers.

If a dust cloud blows in your direction you instinctively (thanks to your brain) squint your eyelids, causing your lashes to cover your delicate eyeballs (a marvel unto themselves) and they are protected.

Did you know that even the appendix is now known to serve an important immune function, particularly in very young babies?

Do you know anyone who is missing a body part or who has a part that doesn’t function properly?

No matter how admirably a person may deal with that loss they are not whole – the body needs every single part to function with 100% efficiency.

I’m guessing that you wouldn’t miss your fingernails as much as you’d miss your arm.  You can live without an appendix, but you won’t last a second without a heart.  If you are post-menopausal you probably won’t really miss your uterus.  But if you are going to be perfectly, completely, 100% whole and healthy you need every single one of your parts to be in good working condition.

So, last Thursday I wrote about my reasons for going to church even though I have some pretty serious issues with The Church.

Three readers commented that I left out a very important concept, if I am basing my beliefs on the Bible.

Coincidentally, all three are pastors.  Darn those pastors.  Always meddling!  Hahaha.  Just kidding.  They didn’t really make me write this, just in case you were worried.  They were right and they all spoke gently and with love (thanks, guys, for being considerate of my feelings).  I needed them to point out that I’d neglected one of the most crucial reasons for going to church.

In my head, I had considered this, but I then I failed to write (type) it down.

Christians are to be a “body.”

1Corinithians, Chapter 12 discusses this in great depth and beauty.

The writer tells us that each of us are blessed with certain talents and gifts.  Some people are teachers, others healers.  Some people are great at knowing how to help their neighbors, others are wonderful administrators.  There are those who are prophets – the very voice of God – and those who are good at keeping the church carpet clean (I’m paraphrasing.  The Bible doesn’t actually talk about church carpet).

Each and every one of us, with our unique abilities, are vitally important to the well-being of the church as a whole… and to the world, as a whole!

If we have a whole bunch of prophets and no one that’s good at helping we are completely lacking in effectiveness.  If we have a whole bunch of healers, but no one good at preaching the Word, we are lacking in effectiveness.  Ask any pastor how far he (or she) would get without good Sunday School teachers.  Ask any Sunday School teacher how important the folks who maintain the building are.

God intended us to work together, as one, to do His (or her, if you prefer) work and show His love here on Earth.

The body needs all of its parts in order to function effectively.

Every single part.

“I don’t have a gift,”  you may say.

You are wrong.

Everyone has something to contribute.  Everyone.  Every. Single. Person. EVER.

The theologian, Emmanuel Swedenborg, said it like this:

The Church on earth is before the Lord as one Man.

Can you draw?  Can you write?  Are you good with technology?  Do you have a heart for the elderly?  Do you know how to comfort the grieving?  Do you consistently speak your mind?  Are you a fearless speaker?  Do you have a knack for foreign languages?  Are you super-organized?

The church needs you.  The world needs you!

So, you see, I go to church, at least in part, because I am meant to be a part of a body.  I am needed there.  I have skills and talents that contribute to the work of the church.  Also, I need others.  There are skills and talents that I lack completely.  I need the other parts of the body to complete me.

I stand by my statement that you don’t need to go to church to be in communion with God.  A church is just a building.  Even Jesus prayed alone sometimes.  But if you have been alone for a long time you may be missing out on something far more beautiful than the sum of its parts!

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2 responses »

  1. I like this idea of body. I am an Unitarian Universalist and one of the primary reasons i go to church is to be part of a body. So I guess I would just add that this concept is not just limited to the body of the Christian church. And now that I’m thinking, what a great concept to extend at a higher level across the faiths. If we could get religious leaders to think of their churches not as individual bodies: a christian body and jewish body, etc. but rather, as part of a larger body: humanity, earth, God – whatever works for the particular faith, then maybe we could have more interfaith cooperation and less cutting off of our own appendages. This idea would give every faith a purpose – a roll to play in the bigger picture. personally, i can see those different rolls serving the diverse spiritual needs of human beings–helping them serve a higher power in different ways.

    • Wouldn’t that be beautiful? When I lived in Tucson there was a church building there shared by those of Jewish faith and 2 very different denominations of Christians – one very Pentecostal and one fairly “liberal.” They each had their own times of worship led by their own Rabbis/Pastors, who each had an office on the premises, but they joined together to run a day care and a food pantry and a clothing-for-the-homeless ministry and other very worthy ministries. If that’s not the Love of God at work I don’t know what is! If only every group of worshipers could move past their own nearsightedness to join the body as a whole…
      You are right, we too often cut off our own appendages!

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