Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blast From the Past: All For One, One For All

This was first posted on February 14, 2011.

"All for one, one for all" was the motto of the Three Musketeers. It could very easily be the motto of the church. As a people who follow Jesus Christ, you could say that we are all for One, and that One is for all of us. At least, that's the way it should be. Sometimes though, it seems that the church has become more "all for us."

I think that Jesus had the same idea as Alexandre Dumas when he established his Church, his Body. Scripture records Jesus teaching the importance of our relationships within a community of his followers. In Matthew 5:21-22, he says that treating others with anger or contempt puts us in danger of judgement. In verses 23-24 of the same chapter, Jesus tells us to get our relationships put right before we come to worship him (Hmmm, I wonder how many places would be empty on Sunday mornings if we really believed that). I think it is interesting that in those verses Jesus tells us to go and be reconciled with our brother or sister if they have anything against us. He doesn't put that responsibility on the one who has been offended, and he doesn't tell us to go if we think we are responsible for offending someone. In Matthew 18, Jesus does direct us to go to those who sin, but again, the goal is reconciliation. And, let's face it, almost all of our problems within a community are due to things other than direct sin (although sin can result because of those things).

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes the church as a body. To me, this chapter contains a perfect picture of what a community of faith is. It's a body. Think about your body. Does your hand deliberately form a fist and hit your nose with it? Of course not! If your hand accidentally moves in a way that causes it to strike your nose and cause it to bleed, does your hand say, "Oh, well. I didn't mean it, so I don't need to do anything." No, your hand is involved in getting tissues and holding them to your nose and trying to stop the bleeding. Every part of the body is important, no matter how small or weak. If any part of the body is hurt, the rest of the body feels that pain. A bad headache can cause the stomach to feel sick. An imbalance in the feet can cause damage to the knees, or a misalignment of the spine. The body is designed by the Creator to function as one, and when it does we see the glory of a great athlete or a prima ballerina.

Christ's body is also designed to function as one. In John 17:11, Jesus asks the Father to make us one, just as he and the Father are one. When the body of Jesus functions as one, we see the glory of grace, the beauty of love, and the Kingdom of God is built up. When that body stubs it's toe, or when a hand accidentally flies up and causes hurt to another part, that damage must be repaired. If it is not, the result is a deformed caricature of a body that is ugly and repulsive. The result is a body that does not bring glory to its Creator.

All for one, one for all. What would things be like if Christ's body on this earth lived by that motto?

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