Recently, in one of our sharing groups at church, two of us brought the exact same passage that had stood out for us in our personal reading of the Bible. To me, this coincidence underscored the importance of the message contained in this particular passage -I Corinthians Chapter 12 – that we all make up the body of Christ. It says that Christ’s body is made up of all people, ‘whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free.’ This indicates that the whole human race, in God’s eyes, is seen as a single person. Each person is like a cell in some part of the body of humanity, which is Christ’s body. Some people tend to think that only those in the Christian church are in Christ’s body. But remember Jesus said: ‘There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them, too; they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd’ (John 10:16).
We are all one in the body of Christ whether we happen to be Christian or not. So no religion should think itself superior, because God has provided many different ways for people to come into His spiritual kingdom. Variety is the rule of God’s creation, so we will never all be the same and see God in exactly the same way. That is why heaven is made up of many mansions (or communities). God loves everybody and and everyone who loves goodness and acts on it, regardless of race or creed, can be saved from the hell of self-centredness. After death they will recognise Jesus as their Saviour and take their place in heaven.
Each person has been created for a specific purpose in the grand scheme of things and that is why each person is unique. That is why we need one another. For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. I Corinthians Chapter 12 goes on to say, ‘If the foot were to say, “Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, “Because I am not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being part of the body. If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear? And if it were only an ear, how could it smell? As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as He wanted it to be. There would not be a body if it were all only one part?’ …’So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Nor can the head say to the feet, “Well, I don’t need you!” On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; and those parts that we think aren’t worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care;…’
So everybody has the right to life and a place in the body of humanity. We all have to find our roles and life’s challenges can help us do this. We discover that we have strengths and weaknesses and therefore need others, like the different parts of the body. As John Donne wrote, ‘No one is an island, entire of itself, everyone is a piece of the c0ntinent.’ When we look upon others as being a valuable part of humanity we begin to be more open to hearing differing viewpoints and accepting different ways of doing things. No two people are alike and this infinite variety reflects the infinity of God.
So let us reach out in love to those in need and work together for the good of the whole. For what we do for another we do for humanity as a whole as well as for the Lord. ‘…whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!’ (Matthew 25:40).