1 Corinthians 12: 20-31a
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” vs. 26
Contemporary culture, particularly in the Western World, is marked by a strong preference for rugged individualism, an attitude that has crept into the way we articulate our faith. Often we hear talk of personal relationships with Jesus and the resulting individual salvation that is ours. It’s a perspective that seems natural to us but it’s relatively rare in our scriptures. In the Old Testament the emphasis is on the nation of Israel and its liberation from the bondage of Egypt. There’s virtual no conversation about the salvation of individuals. The New Testament picks up that theme with its language about the Body of Christ and our participation in it. Paul tells us that individuals are inextricably bound together in the Church and what affects one member affects all. When one suffers, all suffer; when one is honored, all rejoice. It’s been hard to hang on to this concept in a culture that is obsessed with individual rights and that minimizes collective responsibility. We’ve been taught from our youth that we are to take care of ourselves and look out for number one. Paul’s use of the body metaphor is meant to negate some of that thinking. We are at our best as the people of God when we lay aside our obsession with personal salvation and begin to value the needs of others as much as our own. Individually we are weak and needy…together we are strong!
Thought for the Day: If I don’t look out for myself, who will?