Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Body of Christ

I have a new appreciation for Paul, his letters, and his travels. Like Paul, I have a new understanding for how he can tell the Philippians, "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me" (1:7). I have felt this feeling the last few weeks for my friends and family as I have been traveling to see them, to see you.

I have a better understanding for his letters to the Ephesians. It is much the same as a letter I would write back to Anonos: Children, obey your parents. Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the armor of God. Stand firm against temptation, the devil's schemes, and the addictions of this world. Husbands love your wives, but so as not ot get them confused with the purals, Husband of one wife, love your wife for life. I haven't stopped giving thanks for you and remember you in my prayers.

This past weekend I had the joy and privilege of visiting New Life Church near Columbus, Ohio. Much like the Corinthians, I always thank God for them, because of his grace given to them in Christ Jesus. For they have been enriched in every way--in all their speaking and in all their knowledge. We talked much about the spiritual gifts and of the healing in the natural and spiritual bodies. The message preached in their church rung of the sounds of the words of Paul to the same Corinthians, of spreading the gospel of Jesus and sowing generously into the Kingdom of God. They are preaching a model of "scattering abroad their gifts to the poor."

And here I am, back in Rome. With a whole chapter of personal greetings. Speaking to my home friends about no longer conforming to the patterns of this culture, about thinking of what Kingdom culture looks like. Knowing we are more than conquerors through Christ. Living life through the Spirit.

It is absolutely amazing how God has designed us to live in community. To connect with people on such personal levels. To encourage each other, learn from each other, and work together as one unified body. I feel as if my body is spread out over the world. Hearts and lungs in Costa Rica, eyes and ears in Maine, elbows and knees in Ohio, lips and teeth in Michigan, skin in Virginia, Butts and necks in New Hampshire (only the NH teams will understand that one!!); but together we are the hands and feet of Christ, spreading the good news to the nations. Each piece so important. Each piece so loved and cherished.

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