Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading for this week speaks of the many different roles people play within the body of Christ. All the different parts of the body are important. As the Holy Spirit has given gifts, they are all for use in the body. None is without its function.
It strikes me as odd that people are so ready to assign motives and assess values within the body of Christ. I recall an encounter which illustrated this well. When on my way to visit someone in a hospital I as greeted on the elevator by a lady wearing a clerical collar. She engaged me in conversation and it turned out that she was one of the hospital chaplains and had recently visited the person I was going to see. She rather offhandedly told me that she was glad to find out I wasn’t from one of those denominations “that hates women.” Yes, quite the contrary, we think women are an integral part of God’s creation and a very valuable part of the body of Christ.
It turned out very quickly that the chaplain was assuming we didn’t “hate women” and therefore ordained women to pastoral ministry. I didn’t tell her specifically that my church body doesn’t ordain women. Frankly, I didn’t want to have to explain to her that we didn’t find any examples in Scripture of women carrying on the apostolic ministry and the work specifically identified for elders in the Bible, nor did we feel comfortable appointing women to roles which the Scripture only assigns to men. That has no bearing on loving or hating women. One could even make the argument that it is hateful to someone to place him or her into a role which he is not fit for.
That’s the essence of our passage from 1 Corinthians 12. Different people have different roles. They aren’t better or worse, they are different. The eye is not a stomach. It can’t ever digest food. The stomach isn’t an eye. It can never take in a visual image to be processed by the brain. We need them both, as with all our other organs. All are to be valued. All are cherished. All are appointed and used as gifts of God.
Beloved, let us love one another.
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