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Blog Post: June 29, 2021

By Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline

Two things are true of 1 Corinthians 12: 1) that it’s one of my absolute favorite chapters of the Bible and 2) it’s a nightmare to read out loud, and even when you’re really paying attention it’s hard to parse.

Here’s a selection from the chapter:

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

The theology in it is amazing, but the writing is basically “the body is a body and bodies are bodies made up of parts and the parts make up a body; you are part of a body and that body is made of you but not just you but the body is a body that is you and other bodies to form a body and the body is not an ear but has an ear that is not the body but the ear is not the eye and the eye is not the body but how do we see.”

I would probably describe it not as a "word salad," but rather as a "word taco salad." It’s messy, but it’s delicious.

Because it really is beautiful.

When one rejoices, all rejoice. When one suffers, all suffer.

That is how the body operates. When I stub my toe it hurts. Not just my toe, but it hurts me. The nerves go to my brain, and it hurts.

In our body we’ve suffered and rejoiced lately. We’ve rejoiced at the return to in-person worship. We’ve rejoiced at news of pregnancies and births, of new life. We’ve rejoiced as people have traveled to see family for the first time in a year (which I’m going to finally do soon). We’ve rejoiced as we have seen the case counts lower and vaccine rates in Dane County rise (6/day and over 68% respectively).

But we’ve also suffered. People have felt left behind as the world reopens, but they haven’t felt able to yet. We’ve suffered as we’ve watched the national vaccine uptake slowed and new variants have become more prominent. We’ve suffered as we’ve felt the inequities revealed over the past year continue to be present. We’ve suffered as the epidemic of mental health issues has surged in our community. We’ve suffered as we’ve come back in person but have missed faces of those who have died over the past year.

When one rejoices, all rejoice. When one suffers, all suffer.

And we hold these things together, rejoicing and suffering at the same time, holding these in tension with one another, recognizing that the reality of being a whole body is complicated.

But with God’s Spirit binding us, with the love of a community, with the grace and comfort of God’s promises, we can live as a body together.


Jeff Fox-Kline

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