1 Cor. 12:12-27 (NIV)
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized 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. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
The focus this week is on “Heritage” (24 September is Heritage Day) which calls us as a country to remember the various cultural heritages that make up the population of South Africa. We remember too our Methodist heritage.
1. Everyone has their own “personal heritage” shaped by their personal story, their language and cultural make-up and expressed in their style of dress, food, music etc. What is your “heritage story”?
2. How do you relate to people from other cultures or whose heritage is very different to your own?
3. The reading from 1 Cor. 12 places a lot of emphasis on the need for “unity” and for the church to work for “unity in diversity”; and that the Holy Spirit compels this work in us. We might find these sorts of challenges very daunting. The following images might be helpful in guiding your thoughts and discussions.
3.1. Do you find yourself building “Walls”? Why?
3.2. Do you build “Bridges”? How?
3.3. Is your church (also your faith), a “well of precious water” that draws people to it? How? If not, why not?
Some Scriptures to remember:
Blessed is the [one] who finds wisdom, the [one] who gains understanding. Proverbs 3:13
My dear [friends] take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for [one’s] anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13
Have a truly blessed and awesome “Heritage” week,