Body of Brokenness

Sarah Swandell

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:21-26

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” (v. 21)

In my friend Mary’s old town, her church often asked her to read Scripture and serve Communion. But in her new town, she was never asked. The longer she attended her new church, the more she felt she didn’t belong. Despite Mary’s many gifts—loud projecting voice and deadpan humor, detailed with spreadsheets and being adamant about voting—the people of her new church seemed to overlook her. Maybe it was because, along with her gifts, she had limitations such as sometimes struggling to read people’s emotional state.

One day Mary announced: “I’m an atheist.” I protested, but she insisted: “Yes, I am. My church doesn’t ask me to do anything.” That stopped me short. I had never thought of belief so tied to participation. Yet Scripture reminds us that the church is only the church—and worship is only worship—when all God’s children are celebrated, with all our gifts. The church is the body of believers, united in brokenness and beauty. It spans space and time, abilities and disabilities. Where one member of the body is neglected, the whole body suffers (v. 23).

The good news is that Mary found a different church, one that recognizes her gifts and puts them to use. This church bears witness that God can use each of our traits and talents to build up the body of Christ, and that it’s not complete until every gift is celebrated. —Sarah Swandell

As you pray, thank God for your church, and for the body of all believers united in him.