Human Community

Saturday, September 20, 2008
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1 Corinthians 12:12,14-18 – The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, "I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body." Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, "I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body." Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. (CEV)

I didn't have any choice, this summer. Our fence had to be repaired and re-stained. The repairs went fine. It was a bit of a challenge, but my knowledge and skills were able to meet the challenge, and when I had finished, I stepped back with satisfaction that the fence was good for another ten to fifteen years. My satisfaction, however, did not rest in the mindless task of applying stain to something like a hundred linear feet of fencing. The only challenge in that part of the project was to get more stain on the fence than on myself!

As I was applying the stain, however, my mind had lots of time to roam — and one of the memories that came flooding back was the experience of re-building the fence over twenty years before. Five families got together to re-do the fencing around and between our homes. One of the men was an engineer and another was a carpenter, so they calculated how much lumber and stain we would need, ordered the materials, and figured out how much it would cost each family. The engineer and carpenter helped the rest of us locate where the posts needed to be, and once they were set and the top and bottom rails were in place, we agreed on a Saturday during which we would all pitch in and nail on the uprights. At the end of that day, all of the fencing was up, and relationships among the five families had deepened. (We all did our own staining as we had time.)

In this project, everyone used their God-given abilities for the greater good. The "parts" each fulfilled their own functions so that project could get done efficiently and effectively. And we had fun working together. That's the way God wants it to be in communities of faith. We can take that principle and apply it to neighbourhoods and to wider communities of people as well. I think that God probably smiles a "wide smile" when that happens.

Prayer: Loving God, thank You that we are each a unique creation with our part to play in working for the common good. Give us opportunities to do that in the Christian community and in the wider world. Amen.

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John Carr <>
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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