Posted on February 18, 2019 by Nancy Schmitt
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,
though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit
we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to
drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.
–1 Corinthians 12:12-14
At the end of this week, the Special General Conference of The United Methodist Church will gather in St. Louis, MO to make decisions on our future life together as a denomination. Will we be able to stay together in our diversity of scriptural interpretation and thought about matters of human sexuality?
The Apostle Paul emphasizes this image of being the body of Christ many times in his first letter to the Corinthian church. Consider the word B.O.D.Y. as an acronym.
‘B’ is for BASE.
As people who name themselves as Christian, having a base of scripture, prayer and love helps us discern the decisions we make and the directions we take as the body of Christ.
‘O’ is for Openness to God’s Spirit.
My own prayer is that because we are the body of Christ, we can remain open to God’s Spirit in ourselves as well as open to God’s Spirit in others.
‘D’ is for dialogue.
It is good to keep in mind that there is a difference between dialogue and debate. Debate is about one person or one side winning. Debate defends assumptions as truth. And debate searches for flaws and weaknesses in others. Dialogue assumes many people have parts of the answer and that together we can make a new solution. Dialogue explores common ground. Dialogue re-evaluates assumptions. And dialogue looks for value in the positions of others. When we can be in dialogue with one another, we strengthen the body of Christ.
‘Y’ is for ‘Yes’ to God.
When we use our individual gifts as the many members of the body of Christ, we are saying our “yes” to God.
When we are solid in our base, are open to God’s Spirit, are in dialogue with one another and are speaking our yes to God, there will be great hope and expectation as to the amazing things that will happen and how we will be used to strengthen the body of Christ.
By God’s grace, may that day come for The United Methodist Church and for each of us.