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Traveling Together

In a recent worship service, I was challenged anew as the minister expounded on the “One Body, Many Parts” portion of I Corinthians 12. “The body is a UNIT, though it is made up of MANY PARTS,” Paul writes in verse 12a of that chapter. The Apostle continues: “And though all its parts are MANY, they form ONE BODY. So it is with CHRIST” (v 12b). Later in the same chapter, Paul goes on to say: “God has COMBINED the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be NO DIVISIONS in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for EACH OTHER” (verses 24b-25).

While these words were written in the context of the use of spiritual gifts, certainly they have wider application as the church in these days struggles in our “traveling together.”

Angry “I’m always RIGHT!” attitudes promote feelings of religious superiority.

Shameful “We don’t NEED you!” statements are hurled at each other from divergent theological camps.

Arrogant “We have an edge on TRUTH” positions seem to be par for the course. And as God looks down on His bickering children, he must weep!

I remember years ago, while teaching a youth class, one young lady in the group said with certainty: “I don’t NEED other people. I can go it ALONE!” My heart went out to that friendless teenager who, even to this day, has lived her life…alone! The fact is, we do need each other, both on a personal level and as a church. There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go FAST, go ALONE. If you want to go FAR, go TOGETHER!”

The Prophet Amos asks the question: “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3/KJV). But his words need to be tempered with the equally inspired words of Saint Paul: “I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can. You MUST get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a LIFE IN COMMON” (I Corinthians 1:10/The Message). It’s a fact that, when we live our lives (both personally and as a church) as though we need each other, beautiful things begin to happen!

– Paul W. Brubaker
March/April, 2018