I landed at the chiropractor because I hurt my back. The doctor was my friend’s husband, so I knew him just enough to feel rather awkward.
On my second visit, the doctor’s assistant took me into a small room to hook me up to a machine that sent tiny shockwaves into my lower back. I had to unbutton and unzip my pants, so she could properly place the electrode pads.
When the machine beeped loudly, the technician promptly appeared, unhooked me and led me into the exam room where the doctor was waiting. As soon as I locked eyes with him, I knew it. I didn’t need to be told. I didn’t need to look down.
Not only were my pants still unzipped and unbuttoned, but they were clearly hanging agape, because I could feel the air around my midsection. I did the only thing any normal human would do.
I completely ignored it.
I stood talking to him as if I were sporting the newest fad. After the exam, I strode out into the waiting room with confidence, my pants unashamedly wide open.
That day, I not only learned how important it was to double-check your zipper, I also learned how very important your back is to the rest of your body.
Even though I had only injured my lower back, everything else hurt as well. My calves, neck, shoulders, thighs. When one part of my body hurt, the whole of my body was affected.
God’s Word uses the analogy of the physical body to teach us what it means to be a part of His Body – the Church. The Apostle Paul explains this in simple terms:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function…” — Romans 12:4
We have a physical body that is one unit, but is made up of many parts. These parts do not look the same or function in the same way. We have hands for gripping, teeth for chewing, eyes for seeing, knees for bending. Simple, yes, but hang with me.
Have you ever noticed that your hand, though very different from your shoulder, does not behave as though there is a difference?
Here is how we know that is true. Recall your favorite action movie. When someone is shot in the shoulder, what happens? What does that person’s hand do?
The hand immediately goes to the wound. Without fail.
When the hand moves to the wound, it’s putting itself in jeopardy of being hit by another bullet. Why would it instinctively put itself in harm's way? Why wouldn’t the hands hide from danger? Why does the hand spring to action?
The hand, though looking and functioning differently, values the shoulder as much as itself. What is bad for the shoulder is bad for the hand. The hand knows it belongs to one body — a body made up of many parts, each with its own role to keep the body healthy.
So it is with the Body of Christ.
“…so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” — Romans 12:5
In Christ, we are “the many” Paul speaks of, spreading wide across this region of Virginia. We meet in small churches with steeples, old grocery storefronts, large contemporary buildings, schools, homes, and everywhere in between. We pray loudly in unison and quietly in reverence. We sing rich, deep hymns written long ago with only an organ to carry our tune, and we lift our hands in worship as a band plays with gusto from a stage.
Just as a toe is radically different from an ear, so are we from one another.
Our skin holds together all the parts of our physical bodies, but the Church is not held together by skin or building, denomination or worship style. The Church is One Body in Christ alone. This is not something we aspire to; it is a spiritual reality that is true and will continue to be true for an eternity.
Through the ages, those who are in Christ will worship with One Voice, shoulder to shoulder as we gaze at a holy and unspeakably beautiful God. We will do this as One Body, together forever.
Our prayer is that we get a glimpse of that eternal Truth as we gather for City Sing. We will be women from every part of town, near and far, each carrying our own unique stories. But we will have one thing in common – we belong to the same Body. And because of that, we will stand shoulder to shoulder asking God to come renew our hearts and renew our city.