Romans 12:5 “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually we are members one of another.”
Our girls go through phases like a roller coaster over hills. They can go from sharing ridiculously well with little to no supervision, to yelling at the top of their lungs and demanding some alone time. Sometimes the hills of the roller coaster last for a day, sometimes for a minute or two. But that’s simply the life of figuring out just “how” we relate and belong to each other as family. It’s a different relationship than those who live outside our home.
In Romans chapter 12, Paul is talking to the early church, and reminding them they must be “transformed”. That Christ has begun a new age, where we can live as citizens of the Kingdom, but that requires not conforming to the patterns of the world. One of the foundations for becoming such a group of people is to recognize we’re more than just a group of people. We’re family. In a family, I’m not simply surrounded by friends and acquaintances. Ideally, in a family, I’m rubbing shoulders with those I love beyond anything they could do or say. Ideally, our life as the local church body would be similar. Unfortunately, in a world impacted by sin, “ideally” is not a guarantee. But that is why we read these words…Christ enables us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”.
It’s not simply about getting my daughters to let go of their individuality and be absorbed into “Andersons”, anymore than we in the body of Christ want to be absorbed completely into being called “another member”. Each of my children carries a unique presence and contribution to who our family is becoming. Similarly, the scripture acknowledges that “we are many”, and “individually”; yet still “one body”, and “members one of another”.
To the early church in Rome, they were tempted to think that their family membership or civic status meant some sort of “higher level” in the Christian family. In our churches, this same mindset may come in the form of generational: traditional (Hymn-huggers) or hipster (iPod-huggers) divides. Paul’s words come just as strongly to our churches today – we belong to each other as important/valued members, living as the complete body of Christ today. Not simply “valuing the church of tomorrow”, or “gleaning wisdom from the church of yesterday”…but actually living together in today, made complete by Christ as our head.
May parenting our children to love each other, and helping them discover their roles in the family – cause us to pray for the family of God. May we all discover how we are members one of another…