By Robert Halsey Pine
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good……. 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 12:4-13)
When we are in Christian community, the Body of Christ, there is so much potential for being blessed. Several years ago, I was operated on for the removal of a brain tumor. I am one of the fortunate ones. For all the years my wife Penny and I had lived in our city, we had been very active in our church and in the community in general. As I became a distressed member of the Body of Christ, I was lifted up and carried through my ordeal by God’s love and grace as revealed in and through my brothers and sisters in Christ. The prayers, the love and the care that came out of my community literally picked me up and carried me through that life-threatening ordeal. That experience is still impacting me today.
Being a Christian by oneself may be possible, but I’m not ready to try it. God works so many great things through His people, the Body of Christ. St. Paul spent his whole Christian ministry developing churches, Christian communities. His conversion of Gentile and Jew, his dedication to the brethren and his willingness to die for Christ certainly left us with some history to ponder.
The Church, the Body of Christ, is not perfect by any means. The idea is that we come together to seek perfection as shown to us by God through His Son our Savior Jesus Christ. His example has survived all challengers and challenges for more than 2000 years. And how did this happen? Through the inspired Body of Christ, the Church and its many members. We are variety, but inspired by the one Spirit.
Eternal Father, help us to love the variety in Your Church. Teach us to understand the importance of all the members. We thank You for the wonderful plan that You have made for us. May we be worthy of Your love and grace. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen!
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.