Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus

Reflections on Paul’s Image of the Body of Christ 

1 Corinthians, 12th chapter 

If there is no ‘you’ or ‘me,’ there is no ‘we.’ And if there is no ‘we,’ there is no community… 

While this might sound basic and simple, or even a little bit silly or cheesy; this is absolutely true. However, there is a large distinction between a ‘community’ and the ‘Body of Christ.’ A community is a form of connectedness of people, whether it be related to a geographical location or a common similarity. This similarity can take many forms. This should come as no secret to any of us. 

Neither should the common bond that differentiates any type of community from the ‘Body of Christ.’ That difference, which separates the Body of Christ from all other communities, is our connection through God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

This image that Paul uses is very powerful. In today’s modern world, with the power of our technology and advanced systems of research, we learn more about the human body every single day. Yet, if scientists, psychologists, sociologists and the like, did not share or connect with one another, their findings would split off in a variety of ways. In order to gain a full picture, a holistic view of the human body, all these different fields would need to remain connected in consultation with one another to understand the larger identity.

Christ is that identity. God is that larger picture. And we, though many, just as the body is one and has many members, become part of that connectedness as the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. 

Of utmost importance within Paul’s image is our necessity to recognize our need for one another. Regardless of difference, there is a mutuality that exists between the various members of the body. When we emphasize the church, we emphasize each member as active participants; no matter how large or small, young or old. What cannot be stressed enough is our mutual identity through the Holy Spirit regardless of our gifts, talents or treasures. The human body works in perfect harmony only when all members of that body work towards the same goal. So it is the same with the Body of Christ. 

A commentator on this passage wrote, “The Body of Christ does not recognize the difference between nationality, race, or gender.” I would completely disagree. And while some might claim semantics, as the Body of Christ, we recognize our differences. Yet, it is through our differences, connected with the Holy Spirit, that we become united as one in the Body of Christ. 

Unity through diversity, not uniformity. Regardless of difference, we all have a role to play. And if we play that role together, the Body of Christ moves together with one purpose in mind. That purpose, as the Body of Christ, is to build up the Kingdom of God by Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One Lord. One Faith. One Baptism. Amen.