Day 6: Everyone Matters
Have you ever broken a bone or stubbed your toe? If so, you will remember how painful the injured area was and also how the aches and pains affected your whole body. Paul used an interesting metaphor to describe the Church: one body. The Church is called to be a collective of people from different races, ethnicities, cultures and languages, all forming an inseparable whole with Jesus at its head.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many... there are many parts, but one body...Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
God’s design for the Church is not dismembered parts, but unity. We are children of one God, we pray to the same Father and we are saved by the one sacrifice of Jesus and God calls us in our differences to be joined together. If then we are called to be one body, “when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) In the same way that our human bodies cannot compartmentalise and ignore pain, the Church is called to feel the hurt of all the parts of the body.
As the sin of racism wounds parts of the body of Christ, other parts of the body should feel this and respond by actively tending to the wounds and seeking its healing. Ultimately, it is Christ who makes us whole, heals our wounds, and restores us. But God also calls us as part of His body, to care for the Church as for our own body. We wouldn’t ignore a wound to our own body, so when members of the body are subject to individual and systemic racism, how can the rest of the body be indifferent? Ignoring the pain or hoping the wound will heal on its own is not caring for our own body. We are called to carry one another’s burden. Another's hurt is our hurt. This is not “their'' problem or “their” battle. It is all of ours. We are one body.
Ask yourself: Am I desensitised to the pain that racism is inflicting to other parts of the body? Am I more prone to feel the pain of people who look like me and do I more easily ignore the pain of others?
Ask God to help you see and feel the pain that racism is inflicting on all parts of the body, brothers and sisters far and near. Ask God to shape your heart, mind, and spirit to respond to people’s suffering with empathy and compassion.
Think of ways you can respond the next time you hear about racism affecting someone. How could you act like you are one body? Grieve with those who grieve. Join your voice to theirs. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and rejoice with those who rejoice when justice is done.