The Mutilation of the Church
Life at home can get fairly interesting with five of us present 24/7. While Tim generally resides upstairs in his study, I am usually downstairs in the school room teaching the pixies. Communication lines often get crossed or tangled altogether. This transpired dramatically this past week. As Tim was grabbing another cup of coffee, I was directing school from the kitchen while I put away a few dishes. “Lyric, you need to go to the dining room, grab the scissors, and cut out your body parts.”
If I had a camera in hand to capture the look on my Norse man’s face it would be framed forever. “Come again?” he exclaimed.
I went on to explain to Tim that this week for CC (the Classical Conversations community we are a part of with homeschooling) the pixies begin studying anatomy. They needed to cut out all the body parts of some images I had copied and bring them to school. Tim and I enjoyed a good laugh for the next few minutes before I returned to join the pixies in the school room.
The conversation has not left my mind all week. However grotesque it may be to envision, I cannot help but think of the church and the current mutilation of its body. The bride of Christ is designed to work in tandem with all its members. I Corinthians 12 makes clear that we are one body with many members: “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...Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (12:12, 27)
We, the church, are the body of Christ. Yet how often are we guilty of mutilating it? We grab our scissors and cut out the body parts we don’t want, need, or agree with. We use our words on Twitter to scar, our comments on blogs to wound, and our voices on stage to stab.
We are a culture of mutilation. And yet, Paul urges the Corinthian church in this passage, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...if one member suffers, all suffer together.” (12:21-22; 26a)
We are quick to be offended, slow to forgive, and buried in our pride. This body is not about one member being honored above another. The "head" does not have celebrity status in the church simply because it possesses 10,000 Instagram followers. The "eye" does not gain precedence over the hand because it leads the social justice movement. All is grace. We are all part of one another, sinewed together with the blood of Christ himself. We cannot pick up our scissors without destroying ourselves.
Lord, have mercy on us, your church. Knit us together with your more excellent way. Breathe life into these dead bones, heal our scars, and revive our spirits. May our hearts bleed love for one another, our knees kneel in honor to those weaker, our hands reach for the broken…”that there may be no division in the body.” (12:25a)
Later that same evening, when the pixies were in bed, I was turning out the lights in all the rooms downstairs. As I turned the corner in the dining room, I stumbled across Lyric’s body parts all strewn together in perfect symmetry. The image imprinted on my spirit. This is what He has called us to. This is the hope we have, “If one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (12:26b).
And I can hear rejoicing, the shout of dead bones rising, hearts healing, and hands raising one member above itself. It is a shout of victory, the bride has made herself ready. Behold, he comes.