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Always Present

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (NRSV)



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. If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.



Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.




Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."


- Matthew 18:20 (NRSV)




RECENTLY I accompanied overseas mission volunteers to a church in Orange Farm, an informal settlement here in South Africa. The volunteers came to renovate a brick church building that reflects the poverty of its members. The seating consisted of unsteady pews, broken chairs, and old, torn bus seats. To beautify God's sanctuary, the walls displayed children's Sunday school drawings, church mission posters, and a sign made from gold paper that said, "Greetings."



The women's group of the church seated us at two tables. A wonderful meal was served, and I was awed by their generosity. We marveled that these who had so little could give so much.



While we, a community of seeming opposites, were eating, talking, and laughing together, someone noted that we were lunching on the communion table. I was deeply touched and my eyes filled with tears as I realized that Christ was "breaking bread" with us. Then I remembered that Christ is present not only in formal moments of Holy Communion but in ordinary moments whenever believers gather.



Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, open our eyes and our hearts and our minds to see you present in every moment. Amen.



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:


When Christians join in serving others, Christ is present.



PRAYER FOCUS:


The people of South Africa