Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-20).
Have you ever heard a great symphony orchestra play? What a wonderful experience, and what a great metaphor for the unity of the Body of Christ. A great orchestra is lead by a great conductor. The conductor gives every musician a part to follow and leads them to a common destination. Every musician is highly motivated and committed to playing his or her part. No single part is any more important than another even though some might be more recognizable. It takes every part to make the music complete.
The musicians in a great orchestra are often very diverse. They might be from all over the world and have had very different experiences. Some may be male, others female, some young, others old. They play different instruments. Their musical parts differ from one another; the music that the trumpets are playing is quite different from the music that the violins are playing. Each part fits together to create the whole. There is tremendous diversity in an orchestra, but it is that very diversity that makes the music so wonderful.
Unity is achieved when a group of people are headed in a common purpose and common direction. Unity is not the same as uniformity; it does not require that everyone be the same. In fact that usually hinders real unity. Another word for unity is sometimes harmony, and by definition you need at least two different musical notes to make harmony!
The Church is very much like a symphony orchestra. It is incredibly diverse, but has an essential unity because we have a Great Conductor, a common score to follow, and a clear destination. And when the Church plays the symphony of God’s music with passion and grace, it is a delight to the heart of a broken world.
Casting Crowns recorded a song with the words,
But if we are the Body, Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing? Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the Body, Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way!
We Christians are family; we are called to be the body of Christ. Part of being the body is trying to figure out what role we play in the family. Do you know that you play a role? Know that whatever role it is that you play it is very important to the success of the family – we need you!
Another important part of being the body is not only knowing our own role but supporting the roles of those around us. Each part of the body must work together; and while I may not be a foot – I am supported by and can support the foot in many ways. We need each other for the family to work well – for the body to be successful. This is true in each home and it is also true in our church family. We need each other! Therefore; “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:3-6