Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Transient Body

In my work life I travel a lot. The hectic schedule and the many locations in which I find myself on any given Sunday mean that my connection to a single church is transient at best. I attend many different services but usually miss out that deeper connection that comes from socializing with others in a church outside of Sunday morning.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
-- Romans 12:4,5

This passage is easy to over-simplify. It is so easy to just skip right past, "Yes, we are a team.", "We are all in this together.", and so forth. But what about another way of looking at it for deeper meaning?

The organic connection of the elements of the body that Paul describes is a great place to start. If I twist my ankle my hands immediately reach towards my legs. If I burn my hand, my eyes see red. When a foul ball comes shooting at my head, my neck and torso contract to duck out of the way. Each part of my body is connected to every other part. The pain one feels is shared by all. The peace of relaxation or sleep is felt across my whole body. The parts all belong to the whole, but they individually belong to each other too. If your feet are cold, put a hat on.

This interconnectedness is easy to see among people who live and socialize together regularly. When you see someone almost daily, it is hard not be affected by their pain or uplifted by their joys. This I feel is one of the primary reasons a church should be about more than just worship. The worship is important, but so is maintaining the connection outside of worship.

How are we to build and grow these connections without the regular contact that comes from sharing the same geography? How are we to exercise and hone our spiritual gifts without the constant exchanges with other believers? I don't know that you can.

If the growth and development of the church is a spiritual war, then some of us are the scouts. We travel from place to place, learning and observing. We pop back into camp from time to time to share and be comforted, to encourage and bring news. Then back on the road we go, into the fray. We can do that knowing that there is a safe camp for us to retreat to when we need it. That there is an army of believers who are training each other, growing each other, and maintaining the home base for when we need it.

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