My friend and colleague, Sarah Taylor Peck, blogged yesterday about the outrage of the government shutting down. “What if the church did that?” she asked. Well, we can’t do that even when we disagree and bad things happen. We have to live out our calling in the midst of strife and sometimes because of it.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the government is not a church. It can shut down because two sides disagree and no one is willing to negotiate or compromise, regardless of rhetoric.
As a blogger/workshop leader on bodies, one might ask why I am adding my voice to the cacophony of politics talk. Well, this scripture came to mind:
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. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NRSV)
We speak about our government as a body, don’t we? But it seems like we have a whole bunch of mouths and not a whole lot of much else. We, the people, hear the voices, but eyes seem to be missing from seeing the other. Ears seem to be unable to hear the other side, or the least of these. Hands seem to be clinched in fists to bang against tables and not open to serve our neighbors. Yes, for a democracy to work, we need ALL parts of the body joining together, even the unsightly, unmentionable parts. We need folks who are willing to get rid of waste and feet who are willing to walk to the other side of the room (or Capitol or White House).
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.” I may not have lost my job or have been furloughed because of this week’s shut down, but some have. I worry about the future of those who rely on federal assistance to feed themselves and their children. And I am embarrassed by the childish ways grown men (and maybe some women) seem to think that their member of the body is more important than others.
I am a politically partisan person, I admit, and I am a person of faith. I trust that God works in every sphere, material and spiritual, political and faithful, secular and religious. And I pray that the dissension among the body parts will soon get it together and start pumping out positive results instead of blowing hot air, sucking the life out of our nation. Let us and our elected leaders honor each other, as children of God. Then, we shall rejoice together. Until then . . . come on people!
Former international fashion model Rev. Sarah Renfro seeks to boost the body image of young women by educating them on the myths of media and focusing on divine within. She also preaches and teaches about marriage and divorce, motherhood, ministry, and mental illness.