“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 NRSV
We now have a subscription to a magazine called Real Possibilities. It is published by AARP. It came with someone in my household’s membership to that organization. When we joined, the membership was intended as both a joke and to allow us to access the variety of discounts available. I did not even know about the magazine subscription that comes with it. I hadn't even really looked at it but now that we are stuck in this Coronavirus/Covid-19 lock down, I am reading anything I can find around as I wander from room to room. I often feel like the Hebrew people following Moses in the desert as they searched for the promised land.
In this current issue I found a section on the health of the brain and keeping mentally agile even as you age. One of the articles in the section was about myths and urban legends regarding the brain. One that I found interesting was the myth that someone is either “Right Brained” or “Left Brained.” The idea of that once popular theory was that folks who are Right Brained are more creative and artistic and those Left Brained are more math and science oriented.
However, what has been discovered as brain scanning technology has improved significantly is that the brains two hemispheres work together most of the time, especially when completing complex tasks. Folks simply aren’t right- or left-brained; all of the body is needed to sustain life and live it to the fullest. And while science has proven this is true for our brains, the Covid-19 crisis has shown that this is true for our world.
For example, surgeons cannot do their work if the factories that produce Personal Protection Equipment and surgical tools are closed. Of course, the truck drivers are needed to deliver these supplies and maintenance people like electricians and plumbers and mechanics are needed to keep the lights on and the trucks on the road. And we all need grocery stockers and clerks so we can eat and stay nourished and avoid getting “hangry.” (Hunger that makes us a little irritable or even angry.)
In fact, the main lesson this crisis may leave us all is that even though the government may declare some businesses essential and others non-essential, the truth is that we are all necessary.
Paul recognized this in his analogy that discusses the community of faith being connected just as the parts of a body are all connected and necessary.
Paul says that for a body to be fully functional and for a community to be at its best everyone is important—no matter their function or role.
Thursday we will celebrate communion virtually. It will be different for us all. Often in my liturgy for the Lord’s Supper I emphasize that we are all connected together at the table. It is meant to be both a statement of fact and a symbolic statement of being connected with faithful disciples across time and space.
Thursday it is indeed more symbolic than actual. But that said, we are also connected through the physical elements of the bread and cup. The elements we use were touched by many hands as they went from the fields and vineyards to our tables. Whether the farmer or harvester, the transporter or baker, the salesperson or clerk, the packager, the manager, and others who make those jobs make possible all those I mentioned and many I didn’t are necessary; they connect us together.
So as we go through the coming days and as we come to the table, may we remember the lesson God showed us even in our body’s creation and that is proven by the brain scans of science …that we are all connected by the love of God made manifest by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. And with the grace of the Holy Spirit exemplified through you and me and every disciple serving in the holy catholic church.