1 Corinthians 12:12-13 – 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 one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (ESV)
The Portuguese Man o' War is made up of millions of polyps called zooids. These zooids work together to function as a single organism. They differentiate so that some become dedicated to stinging, catching, defence, digestion, or reproduction. They are all mutually dependent upon one another, but essentially, they are all still individual polyps with no central controlling brain. They have highways of connectivity that communicate one region of cells to another to pass on information and nutrients so that they function for the benefit of all. Collectively, they work all for one and one for all.
It made me think about how Paul describes the church as the body of Christ: we are all individual members of one body. In Revelation, Jesus calls the church His bride — no matter the denominational emphases, distinctiveness, or peculiarities. We are called to share Jesus as the only begotten Son of the Father, part of the Trinity, who died to set His followers free from condemnation and to open the way to salvation. We all share in our expectant hope of Jesus with us via the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Unlike the church, as a body having different parts and being one with a common purpose, polyps have the added advantage, as they work together, that they do not have egos, suspicions, or temptations to deal with, that undermine the work for the common good. Zooids literally sink or swim together.
On the up side, we have what the polyps do not: the presence of Jesus who shines His light into our lives via the Holy Spirit and enables what we cannot do by ourselves: to bring Jesus.
So, despite our failings, we can function as a unit of the kingdom of God through the inspiration and grace that is found in trusting Jesus to work this out.
Jesus' call is simple: Come! Just as you are, warts and all, individuals, families, groups, nations: Come to Me! He will sort out the rest as we go forward. We can be the light of Jesus working where we are, in and through the local church. Yes, our nice, ordered existence may well be messed up in the process. Change always is messy, but that is how Jesus grows our faith.
Let us remember our own journey to find Jesus, and be prepared to welcome those around us, who are also on the journey, to find the light of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, forgive our sins and purify our hearts and minds. Remind us to look to You and to be sensitive to what You are asking of us. Fill our hearts and lives with love, so that it creates a natural overflowing of Your love through our lives in giving of ourselves one for all — not just in the giving of physical gifts that last only for the moment, but also so that Your kingdom flourishes, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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