Since breaking my patella a week ago, I’ve gained new insight and appreciation concerning Paul’s comments on the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27. It’s too long to type out here, but you know the passage I’m talking about, the one where all the parts work together. And boy, is it ever true.
When one part of the body isn’t working, it makes all the other parts have to work harder and pick up jobs that aren’t theirs. It really does take 2 legs to hold up the body. Sometimes the muscles in my arms ache worse than the knee that’s fractured from supporting my weight on crutches.
Not only do the other parts have to work harder to compensate, but nothing works as well. The windows remain dirty, the freezer not defrosted, my morning walk not taken. Things I’d planned to do will not get done, not until later. Washing windows and defrosting freezers are not significant, and there will be time to do them once my knee is healed. But, what about the work of the body of Christ? What happens when broken parts hinder the whole?
A body part not working right doesn’t just have the negative effect of how it affects the others. A broken part is a broken part, and it needs to be tended to. I can’t ignore this knee. That’s impossible. It has to be cared for. If not, it won’t get better. We can’t ignore hurting Christians anymore than I could pretend this broken kneecap didn’t exist. When one is hurting, the rest must help. It is only right.
All the people of Christ are so important. There are no insignificant people. When John Donne proclaimed in Meditation 17 that “no man is an island” and that what happens to one happens to all, he was establishing the value and interconnection of every person.
Perhaps keeping the body of Christ fit and healthy is not mostly an act of being proficient, but more an act of love. I can say that I have gained new appreciation for my knee. When it’s back in service, maybe my feet will pick themselves up a little higher. Maybe my eyes will look where the body is going instead of being distracted.
And, maybe I won’t get frustrated if I have to pick up some extra work for a hurting person. Maybe I’ll pay a little more attention of how to benefit the people around me. I hope so.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything