It’s funny how sometimes God uses every day things to teach us about him. Well, actually it’s more than sometimes, it’s most of the time really…
So, a few weeks ago I hurt my back when out running. Infuriating really as I had just got back into running after the winter and now have had to stop again. Now I really want to go and I can’t. So I have been seeing a chiropractor who has been twisting and pummelling me in awful ways – if you have never had to visit a chiropractor you cannot begin to imagine the pain they can inflict with just one finger. Seriously I wonder if they are ever used to extract information from people.. Today she prodded my backside with her thumb and I could have thumped her… although it is actually helping. What has been really interesting is that although I feel the pain across my lower back, when she prods and pokes me, that isn’t usually where I feel it during treatment. She can prod around the top of my arm or my shoulder and it is soooo painful and yet that’s not where I feel it daily. What is that all about?! It reminded me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12 that says:
1 Cor 12:12
Everything is connected. Remember that old song ‘the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone…..’ and so on ad nauseum… The bible also says we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and how true that is. How wonderfully that everything works together in harmony (or should if you haven’t damaged part of it). So when we do something to one part, it is felt all over. My legs have begun to ache because I am sitting and standing awkwardly, my neck aches, presumably for the same reason. The top of my arm was painful during treatment today… And Paul goes on:
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”…
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
I know this is an image of the church and how it should work, and it’s such a shame that so often it doesn’t. Is there a church anywhere where the body does work well together? I mean, truly? God has put us together with love and wants us to work in harmony, and yet how hard it is! As Paul says above, ‘if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it’. One could say that you can’t please everyone all the time, and we know that Jesus certainly didn’t please everyone, but I can’t help thinking that’s not really the right attitude for us to take. Surely there must be a way to live in harmony, especially within the church, as God intended…..