Thursday, March 13, 2014

ONE Body

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.

Romans 12: 3-5

Ruth and I were greatly blessed to attend a missions conference recently and I must admit that this conference was a lesson in what "one body" truly means.  There were pastors and missionaries from Egypt, West Bank, Israel, Moldova, Brazil, Thailand and the U.S. to name a few.  This was an incredible time of fellowship and worship.  One of the interesting things was, we spent three days together, and I could not tell you the denomination of a single person I talked to. And not one person ever asked me.

I am not saying denominations are bad.  The problem arises when we start picking apart another group because they don't do things the way we do.  Or maybe they get a bit more energetic than us.  I think denominations are a useful tool in God's Kingdom, God in His mercy, knows us better than we know ourselves, gives us every opportunity to come to Him in an environment that we are comfortable with so that we are "without excuse".

It is so refreshing to worship among a group, some raising hands, others jumping and shouting, still others standing or sitting quietly in reverence of a Holy God. Do we really all have to be the same?

If we try and cut off some of our brothers and sisters from what WE perceive as the body, are we trying to cut off a toe because it is not a finger?

If we have these problems here, what about our brothers and sisters in another culture, aren't they part of this body too?  I have taken a dislike to the term "foreign missions".  It seems to make a division between what we do here, and what they do "over there".  We have our "stuff" here, and if there is enough we could use it there.

The Bible tells us there is ONE body, we are all tied together with ONE Spirit.  If we can agree that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, can we overlook some of our differences if our style of worship, or some of the doctrinal things that have been debated for centuries?

For me it was like a piece of heaven, worshiping with others, all feeling the freedom to worship as we see fit.  Do we really want to be like Saul's daughter Michal who came out to meet David after he danced with all his might before the Lord?  She came and chastised him saying "How the king of Israel honored himself today!" she said "He exposed himself today in the sight of the slave girls of his subjects like a vulgar person would expose himself"

Let us not attempt to mutilate the body of Christ to make it look all the same.  Something we are comfortable with, but useless to the world.