A beautiful day from some years ago…
I would argue that the little dog deserved every part of his parade. Speaking of celebrating different but very important roles, this morning I wanted to look at the passage about the Body of Christ.
We will get to that in a minute. Firstly, a question: how many bones have you broken?
I have been lucky so far and avoided any serious injuries! The closest it gets is that I think I once broke my toe- it went very purple. It was the saddest of stories. One day I heard an ice cream van outside, so obviously I joyously leapt up to run to it. Unfortunately, my uni house had a small ridge sticking up from the floor separating the living room and hall, and as I ran for the door I stubbed my toe. I was running pretty fast (it was an emergency) so it was quite painful! I had a sit on the sofa for a while, with varying degrees of sympathy from my housemates. The ice cream van music came back on, and I listened to it drive away.
1 Corinthians 12 verse 26 says, “If one part of the body suffers, all of the other parts suffer with it.” I would argue that I rose to a level of Biblical understanding that most theologians dream of, transcending normal human understanding, as I sat with a purple toe and no ice cream. But I have not let pride change me.
Have a read of 1 Corinthians 12.12-27.
This passage gives us some wonderful insight into both God’s identity, and our identity as people. We see the emphasis on including everyone – Jews, Greeks, slaves, the free etc. This shows us how God knows and cares about each “part” intimately and deeply – this is who God is.
The passage talks about responding to each other’s hurts, and celebrating each other’s joy. It talks about how no part can say that they don’t need another part, but equally no part should think that they don’t matter or aren’t needed. We all have belonging and meaning because we are all part of the body, and God loves all of us. That is who we are.
How wonderful it is to have a relationship with a God who places such importance on the inclusion of all, and on how vital it is to love each other.
There are some “parts of the body”, or groups of people that need our focus at the moment. The passage tells us it is right to mourn when people are suffering, and to respond and care for each other. I especially want us to bring two main groups to God this morning.
Firstly we need to pray for the terrible events that have happened recently due to racism. I’d like us to pray for the family and friends of George Floyd. I’d also like to pray for people whose daily reality is coping with racism. I’d like us to pray for ways that racism and white privilege can be addressed and dealt with on both societal and personal levels. Pray for God’s leading and God’s light amongst all of this.
Secondly, I would like to pray for schools reopening. I know there is at least one local school reopening today, with some starting yesterday. Thank God that he understands the various nuanced ways this has affected different people.
Pray for the children going back to somewhere so familiar yet so different. Pray that God, who is used to holding opposing things in tension with each other, will be with each child, and that he will help them.
Pray for the teachers, teaching assistants and classroom assistants, with the task of caring for children in such strange circumstances. Pray for God to be with them, to give them his strength and sustain them.
Pray for the headteachers and all those in leadership, making decisions for the school in uncertain territory. Pray for God to be with them, to guide them and help them.
And pray for all other support staff – cleaners, administrators, and dinner ladies, including my mum. Pray that God will be with them, help them and protect them.
In uncertain times, we can always be sure of love and belonging with God. Not to forget what God has taught us, of the importance of loving and supporting each other.
Julie introduced me to this song some time ago, talking about love getting in through the cracks of life.
As we go through today, may the love of God and the importance of loving our community give us purpose and hope.
Amen. Till next time.