Who knew how important the pinky is to everyday life.
Last Monday, I went with a friend to play basketball. (Yes – I actually played, and I actually scored a bucket. Just sayin’). Sometime during the game, I either received a hard pass or took a bad slap angle to a ball and jammed my right pinky. While it was painful, it was still bending. At least it was until the next morning, by which time was swollen and turning purple.
I knew my pinky was there when I tried to wash my hair, tie my shoes, brush my teeth (I’m right-handed), and even type on the computer. Even today, it is letting me know it is still in pain as I lay these thoughts down.
Most of the time, I do not give my pinky a second thought. Actually, I do not think much about any of my fingers or toes. They just keep doing their job day after day, in concert with the rest of the body. The only time I tend to think much about my body is when one part of it – even the smallest part of it – is in pain and rest of the body then compensates for it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
There are many words we use to describe the local church – family, gathering, congregation. Paul was inspired to use the word “body” to describe the church. A body is connected and works together. Each part is reliant on the other for its very life and health. The body has to get along in order to act as one whole.
A church can be a body when its members choose to act together all the time. It seems to me that many churches operate like a family – they get together for a weekly reunion and stay in touch by email and phone, but there is not a deeper interconnectedness that sustains the life of the body beyond Sunday morning.
Some people may experience this in a small group. They feel like they belong in that group. But does the group also have concern for the larger body to which it is connected?
I have not been able to ignore my pinky. I can ignore a person who I see once a week but have no other meaningful connection with beyond the Sunday Morning window. It that person is hurting, I will never know. It has not affected me.
And it may go on not affecting me…until many of us are hurting and we cannot ignore the hurt among us. When we try figuring out what got us to such a place of unhealthiness, we will realize it was our disconnectedness from each other’s pain, joy, and everyday life.
So be sure to connect with someone in your church family this week in a meaningful way. Be sure to call or write or email and make sure you get past the pleasantries. Find out what is happening in the life of your brother or sister in Christ. When you are connected, you may find out there is joy to share and pain to shoulder. The connection will hurt for a time, but it will lead to healing for the hurting and a better connected body of Christ.