The church is a called-out body of believers who follow Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He has made a way for us to be in communion with Him. He has not abandoned us as orphans. He has adopted us into His family and has given us the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit who will be our companion within for the rest of our mortal lives. We are never forsaken, never left to our own wits. He will never leave us.
In light of this, let’s take a deeper dive into the church. We know from Scripture the body of Christ consists of every ethnic group, both male and female. All of humanity is represented at the foot of the cross. I had the privilege of experiencing this at a worldwide conference on evangelism in South Africa. As voices rose in hundreds of languages, I could barely stay standing. Many times, I sank to my knees, tears pouring from me at the sheer power of the redemption for all humankind.
We are both the misfits and the mighty. We are broken and whole. We are marginalized and favored. We are of the majority and the minority. But together, we make one whole. Together, we heal. Together, we experience the Lord’s Supper, baptism, marriage, and burial. Together, we represent the tangible presence of Jesus on this earth.
A proper theology of church helps us endure the darkness. It empowers us to continue on. It helps us love the unlovely and see every single person as an image bearer.
In a physical body, each part plays a necessary role. And certainly a body without a head cannot survive; therefore, the church absolutely needs Jesus. The two only exist in symbiosis.
My eyes need my feet to take me down the path. My stomach needs my mouth to eat. If I bring a hammer down upon my thumb, it is all I can think about. Every part matters. You matter. I matter. The person who frustrates you matters. The hurting one matters.
Sadly, we often sideline the broken ones in our midst, and we revere the “put together” ones. What is deemed least is what should be honored more. Paul said when we love this way, we create harmony (1 Corinthians 12:24). This is the nature of self-giving love. We pay special attention to those who are deemed less honorable by bestowing honor upon them.
The cross levels us all. I am no better than you. You are no better than me. We are all children together, loved by our Father.
As the body of Christ, we represent the traits and qualities of Christ to a dying world. It is a privilege, yet it is messy. But as we understand our mission to love others, and as we grow in maturity, we become more adept at navigating this world.
The previous is an excerpt from Mary’s new Bible study, Into the Light: A Biblical Approach to Healing From the Past.