Many Parts, One Body

Life Notes—May 30, 2013 

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”  1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27

Imagine yourself as a two-dimensional being.  You can only perceive height and width at any given moment.  Your world examined by an outsider, along with the existence of four of your closest beings, might look something like five circles in a single plane.  Five beings moving up and down and side to side.  That would be your reality.  While your two-dimensional world would have depth, you could not perceive it with your restricted perspective except in time, as the past, present and future.  In other words, you experience your movement backward and forward—depth—as past and future.

We, as three-dimensional beings, clearly see how much of reality these beings miss by only being able to experience depth in time.  With our ability to perceive in three dimensions—height, width and depth—we might see their reality in any given moment more like a cross-section of the fingers of a hand.   And the five, seemingly independent circles in the first illustration, are now seen as sections of five fingers, each a part of the same hand.  A two-dimensional being would be unable to perceive its inseparable connection to its fellow beings because it cannot perceive depth.  It cannot know it is part of a hand, let alone part of a much larger body, a body whose members are all intimately, though invisibly, interconnected.

We perceive our existence in three dimensions and move through time.  Is there another dimension we experience only in time?  If there is, what does it look like?  Or more appropriately, what does our three-dimensional existence look like when viewed from that next dimension?  Would the difference be as striking as the difference in the two illustrations above?  I believe our lives are multi-dimensional, but because of our limited perception the true nature of reality is largely hidden from us, at least until we shed our three-dimensional limitations at our physical death.  Consider one of the most common experiences reported by those having near-death experiences.  That is the experience of seeing one’s entire life flash before them—not as a chronological series of events, but as a whole.  That would seem to be the type of ‘vision’ possible from a higher dimension, where what we now only experience over time can be perceived in its entirety.  I believe Paul’s words to the Corinthians above may be more literal than we know. Perhaps we are not just parts of one body figuratively, but also literally.  We just cannot know it, yet.  But ultimately, we all suffer and are honored together because we are one body.

Rev. Sharon Howell will preach downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. His sermon title is “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” based on Matthew 5:9 and Romans 12:9-18.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Take your place in the body of Christ.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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