A common analogy found in the New Testament in answering the question, “What is the church?” is the human body. The human body is made up of many different parts, all designed to work together toward the same goal, the building up of the body, that it may function together in harmony. Each member, each part belongs to the same whole.
It is in this way that we are challenged to look at the church. Each individual member belongs one to the other. The challenge for us is that, in the culture in which we live, the individual is elevated above all others. You, as an individual are taught to see yourself as important, the most important in fact. This is clearly seen in our sports heroes. When a touchdown is made, the player who crossed the line draws attention to themselves, as though they are the greatest, while the linemen simple run back to the sideline. This desire for attention infects us all, and so it also infects how we view and treat one another in the Holy Christian church. We have a hard time knowing that, as the people saved by the gift of grace found in Jesus Christ, we are a part of a whole, each called to serve one another.
Therefore the proper response to this Gospel, that Jesus saves us from death and darkness is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in service to God’s kingdom. Empowered by the forgiveness we have in Christ, each of us are given individual gifts, unique to who we are. As the baptized people of God, we use our gifts in service to one another, as we work toward the same goal, the spread of God’s kingdom by the proclamation of His Word, and the administration of the sacraments.
Your abilities are not given by God for you alone, but that you may bless your brothers and sisters in Christ. We belong to each other. What one person needs, another is called to share. Each of us, working together in the unity of the Spirit of God.
This also means that when one part is missing, when one person is missing, we all together feel this loss. (Like my own body feels the loss of one kidney) Each person is here because God has called you to join together with us, to receive His gifts, and work together in love.