But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. - Ephesians 4:15-16
In an effort to unite people, Paul likens differences to different parts of a body. I love how he doesn’t tell arms to be legs, or hands to be ears, or teeth to be toes. We cannot erase the differences between veins and arteries, even though they’re similar. And if we require a heart to be a brain, we put ourselves in grave danger. Likewise, if we erase the HIV+ parts or the disabled parts or the homeless parts of Christ’s Body, we cause trauma to the whole Body.
If it’s true that we’re one Body, then we’re called not only to acknowledge the Body’s many parts but also to honor the unique expressions of those Body parts. What if the Body of Christ unapologetically cared for its mentally-ill parts and youthful parts and its kinky parts and its rural parts and its non-binary parts and its parts of every language (spoken or signed)?
Whatever your color, race, ethnicity, and tribe may be, every ligament, bone, organ, and cell of your being is important to the Body’s existence—to our shared existence. We cannot be whole and healthy if you are not whole and well and included as an indispensable part of this, Our One Body.
Remind us, loving God, that umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu—we can only realize the fullness of our personhood with and through others. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Founder/Director of Salus Center (the first LGBTQ Resource & Community Center in Lansing, MI) and Pastor of Salus Center UCC & First Congregational UCC - Ypsilanti. They are a parent, speaker, writer, transitional coach, designer, and low-key fashion head.