What does “body aches” mean to us as Christians?
We are saved as individuals, but we are saved INTO the Body of Christ, which is His visible church. The one with all those human-y, pain in the neck people. Why bother to put up with the ache and irritation?
Here’s something I do that makes me look particularly intelligent. I bite my cheek. And then before it heals I do it again. And again.
I’ve been known to scratch myself with a rough fingernail.
A lash will work its way into my eye and sting like mad. My feet get all in a muddle and trip me. Various of my body parts will rise up to make the rest of me miserable.
But however it hurts when offending molars chomp the inside of my cheek, I’ve never yanked them out. Or pulled out my fingernails and eyelashes by the roots or told my clumsy feet “Begone!”
My body may hurt itself on occasion, and on top of the physical pain is a feeling of betrayal and the recognition of the ludicrousness of it all. Silly body parts. When you hurt the other members of your own anatomy you hurt yourself. And sometimes my smallest members—the edge of a nail, a single eyelash—can have a disproportionate impact on my physical well-being. But hey. I’m stuck with ‘em.
The body of Christ is jam-packed with parts. Some are skilled hands, or swiftly beautiful feet or silver tongues. Some are un-filed nails, biting molars or straying lashes.
It isn’t easy to be part of a body. I mean part of the local, visible manifestation of a body. A local church is where we take the risk of being scraped or irritated or even chewed up. We really take a chance when we come out from under the isolation and private worship of warm woolly blankets and park ourselves in a church. Because that exposure declares a willingness to give ourselves to and for the members parked next to us.
When we commit to a local body we make ourselves vulnerable. (A local body is one whose head is Christ. Any “church” that doesn’t proclaim the gospel of salvation by grace isn’t a true body.) Unless you are a body part that stays half-hidden under your blanket. Unless you slip in and out of a worship service with no people-contact. If not, chances are some other member is going to hurt you.
But just as we didn’t get to pick out our favorite body parts before we were born (I’ll take the lustrous hair, a dozen nimble fingers and just a sprinkling of freckles, please), so we can’t choose who we are connected to through Christ our Head. It takes faith in His sustaining power. It takes guts and perseverance—and a ridiculous amount of love—to stay in the body.
But we need to remember. It is not just selfless love that helps us bear with one another. It’s self-love. That scratchy nail, the clumsy foot, a chomping molar—all are part of us. Some might need to be filed, some encouraged, some maybe even avoided for a time. Sometimes I have even BEEN the clumsy foot and the irritating lash. But we give glory to the Head when we care for the body.
Have you been hurt by another member of the body? Worse, have you inflicted hurt? Instead of huddling alone under a blanket, trust Christ the Head to sustain the body He died for. And stock up on bandages.