Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 51; 148, 2 Kings 23:36-24:17, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Matthew 9:27-34
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it;
if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
– 1 Corinthians 12:26
Today’s reading from 1 Corinthians can be read on many levels. It is often used to describe the importance of each person’s role in the body of Christ and to celebrate the many gifts they contribute. It also describes the importance of diversity within the church.
Read in context with today’s healing story in Matthew, there is yet another meaning. When Jesus healed two men of blindness, they were not passive recipients, but participants in the process. He asked them if they believed, and when they said yes he told them, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” Christ does not just do things to us, he does them with us.
When one part of the body is sick, it depends on the others for healing. An ailing tooth does not walk itself into a dentist’s office, but relies on the feet. A foot with a splinter cannot remedy itself, but depends on the hands to remove it. Hands that tremble from hunger cannot feed themselves, but rely on the mouth and teeth to chew and swallow. Each part is not only equally important, it is equally interdependent.
As members of the body of Christ, we must rely on each other and be present for each other in times of illness and distress. None of us is completely self-sufficient. We receive care when we need it, and we offer care when it is needed. And as the feet don’t feel burdened by the tooth, and the hands don’t feel burdened by the feet, we do so not out of obligation nor to secure help for ourselves in the future, but because we are one. The well-being of one is inseparable from the well-being of others.
Christ was extravagant in his love for all people. Christ was extravagant in his healing. As we are now his body, we are called to the same extravagance. Let us heal not out of duty, but out of extravagant love.
Comfort: It’s okay to rely on other people when you need to.
Challenge: Mental illness is often met with less sympathy and support than physical illness. Make an effort to learn more about how you can appropriately support people with mental illnesses.
Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Discussion: How do you feel when people ask you for help?
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