Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Irresistible Invitation by Maxie Dunham - Day 30

Irresistible Invitation:  Responding to the Extravagant Heart of God                   

Day 30:  The Body of Christ

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Cor. 12:27



On this day Maxie encourages us our role not as the dwelling place of wonder but at Christ’s body in the world.  He writes; “As Christ is the Incarnation of God, so the church is to be the continuation of Christ’s presence in the world.”  The most prominent image of the church in the New Testament is the body of Christ.  We can think of Paul’s words to the church in Corinth, “you must show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God…” (2Cor. 3:3)  We must remember who we are and whose we are, precisely the body of Christ through whom God intends to become the head over all there is, it is Christ whom every power in the universe must reckon.  Those of us who make up the church operate not out of human wisdom and strength but out of Christ’s wisdom and strength and in so doing we are a new creation, a fellowship of Resurrection Life. 


This image of the church as Christ’s body in the world then is one that speaks primarily of serving.  In order to be the body of Christ in the world is to truly be his presence in the world.  What does that mean, it means for instance that we are the eyes of Christ in the world, and through the eyes of Christ there is nothing that can cause division, no East or West, no black or white, slave, free or male or female.  Through Christ’s eyes we see the dignity and worth of every human being and the churches job is to respond lovingly to the needs those individuals may bring, in Christ’s eyes every person is one for whom Christ died, no matter what.


In addition when the church speaks it speaks with the voice of Christ, speaking to people in all manner of human condition.  War and peace, inflation and the national deficit, the spending of tax monies, where people live how they work, abortion, pornography, adultery, immigration, no matter the plight, it is of concern to the gospel.  Nothing is off limits for Christ.  The church must speak fearlessly and compassionately the Good News of God in Christ to every person, wherever he or she may be.  But that is not enough the church must also heal with the hands of Christ, the ministry of the Church is a ministry of redemption and healing, as was Christ’s.


The Heart of the Matter


--What does it mean to you to be a part of the body of Christ?

--In what ways has the church represented the body of Christ to you?

--If you were to be honest, how do you do at seeing others through the eyes of Christ?  Why do you think that is?