1 Cor 13:1
If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
This morning my reading prompt was from Romans anddiscussed the mercy and grace of God. One verse referred to us (Christians) as being part of one body. I glossed over it, after all I had the concept down…. but then tried to read my verses aloud and found it strangely standing out in importance.
Rom 12:4-5 (CSV) says, “Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.” This is proceeded by the verse warning against thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. I pondered the significance of this warning when it seemed to me that there was no impending consequence to warn off. Hmm… when in ponderance (not sure that’s a word…) I try a different translation!
Rom 12:4-6 (MSG) says, “In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”
Well then, that helps! Hence the warning suddenly has more weight. I think the point may be to suggest that if we start viewing what we are “adding” to the body in our self-importance verses our identity coming from our place “within” the body we lose sight of the true picture Christ is trying to present.
In high school, I had a variety of sports injuries. No, not because I was super-athletic in my younger years, but more so because I was especially clumsy and didn’t have the coordination when it came to PE. So, I ended up with broken fingers, toes, an arm, etc. Once when I had a broken finger, it coincided with our band’s first trip to a major competition. We would be going to Georgia, and I was to play a challenging part on flute. Well, then I broke my finger, and being so gracious as to not leave me out, the band director allowed me to play temporary percussion – specifically, to use the cymbals in the competition. I was terrified. For good reason too, as when it came time for the finale of the piece, I clashed my ginormous cymbals one measure too soon! Ackkk, total mortification. But, complete… ok well minor recovery, as I repeated my dramatic clash at the actual end of the piece.
A clanging cymbal, or resounding gong is completely self-dramatizing without the entire band playing the piece in congruency to produce the desired sound and effect. It never occurred to me before today that these two different verse references are very much buddies in terms of their point. Meaning that we have a responsibility to the other “body parts”aside from performing our own role. Not because of some form of “metaphorical superglue” that lays within our own individual participation, but in fact because we owe it to the body (Christ) to sync up and suck up our individual feeling for the sake of that same body. If you are focused on being awesome for God, and not simultaneously loving the other parts of His body (and no, it is not your place to rate their performance), you are clanging a gong without the context of the band. Or even more graphic, you are a cut off finger or hand (think Addam’s Family, lol) snapping along to a beat, sans the other essential body parts.These verses go into great detail about what love is and looks like, truly giving a symphonic approach to what it means to bring glory to God. And after all, isn’t that how He made us? To gloriously come together for His purpose and pleasure? So for me, I have to start viewing other members of the band in love… even when they clash the cymbal too soon.
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.