Two weeks ago, I had my appendix removed. This was and unexpected intrusion in my life. I had been feeling vaguely sick for several days and a friend talked me into seeing my doctor. After being poked and prodded and scanned a couple of times over the course of a day and a half, I was sent to the hospital for surgery. A few hours later, my appendix was gone and all that is left to show for it is a sore belly. I have had way too much time to reflect on all of this during the past couple of weeks, but there seems to me to be a connection between what has happened to my body and what happens in the Body of Christ. I hope that is not heretical…..
Before it was removed, my appendix, which had been quietly sitting there doing whatever it does, made itself known with vague symptoms. I did not really want to see the doctor because I was afraid it would turn out to be nothing and I would look foolish (the boy who cries "Wolf!" kept coming to mind....). I realized that this is often how I treat other people in the Body. I don’t really notice them until they have some kind of need. I am reluctant to do anything about it because I don’t really know what they need and I am afraid I will say or do something to make things worse. But that person does matter, and does need my attention, no matter how clumsy my attempts to bring care and comfort. Those of you who have cared so sweetly for me are a testimony of this – meals, flowers, cards, phone calls, texts – all of these are so meaningful and demonstrate the love of Christ flowing through you to me. I am humbled by it and pray that God will use your examples to spur me on to love and good works.
Everyone says the appendix is really not necessary and so taking it out doesn’t really make a difference. However, I feel the loss of my appendix and it has definitely caused me to feel pain. No member of the Body of Christ is useless. We all have a part to play, whether eye or ear or foot or hand or appendix (I know, that’s not in the Bible. Bear with me.) We cannot ignore any of our fellow brothers and sisters, but rather, we can draw them into fellowship with us and learn how they too are vital to our community. Every time one of our Body moves away or dies, we experience a loss. We lose their voice lifted up with ours in worship, in prayer, and in fellowship. We lose their experience of walking through life with Christ.
This spurs me on to wanting to know you all better. To share life with you. To make sure no one in the Body of Christ at ECC is feeling isolated or alone. Let’s all look around and see who might need to know the loving touch and voice of Christ and share it with them. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) And if you are one who is feeling that way, please reach out – to whoever you sit next to next Sunday morning, to me, or to anyone on staff or an Elder or a teacher. We are a Body with no unnecessary parts.
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