We are one body. This is a phrase we hear in church all the time. We may even know Pauls defining scripture from Corinthians by heart. The idea is that the church is many members but one. One in heart, mind, and spirit with a will and desire to serve the Lord. I am especially fond of Dana Scallons song by the same name, and I feel that she outlines this theme very well. I’ve included a video for the song for you to listen.
In this body Christ is the head, and we are extensions of his hands and his heart, reaching out to a dying and thirsty world. In this way we all fulfill a purpose in the grand design, and seek to achieve the Lords good will for us.
Since I was a teenager, I have always been involved in ensemble playing. Whether it was piano, guitar, trombone, or singing, I have always found myself in one way or another to be part of a group. Now I find myself directing pit orchestras for musicals and choirs (like our wonderful choirs here at Resurrection Parish). In all these groups we have a very specific purpose (usually set by the composer or arranger) that we are “ordained” to be dedicated to.
This part, or parts, serve a very direct and intentioned purpose for the whole of the piece. No matter how great or small, it is necessary. If a part were not to be there, the whole piece would suffer. If the part deviated from its instruction, the piece would become confused and may even fall apart. The goal is to have a piece that is beautiful, harmonious, and magical. This is God’s hope for our lives.
Sometimes we only think of our part, and can tend to not see our relevance in this “orchestral work”. From that vantage point it seems relatively trivial whether we go to church or not, whether we assist in our community, or whether or not we pray for those in need. As we start retreating from this great ensemble we harm not only our own purpose, but those around us. We are called to bear one another’s burdens, and to also be the light of the world. Even something as simple as a beautiful harmony can seem weak without its supporting part. It is through this accompanying of parts as a whole that the church is constructed. Todays culture places a strong stress on individualism, and turning inward. Unless we set our eyes outward, on Jesus and his cross, we can never expect to leave the grand stage satisfied and fulfilled.