The word of God uses different metaphors and word pictures to describe the church. Two of them are the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. At this moment in history, these two descriptions of who we are to be and how we are to act are vital for us to remember.
Paul uses the analogy in different letters, but primarily in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us that we are part of the overall body of Christ and individual members of the body. He goes on to talk about how we each have a function. Thinking about that idea of being a functional body of Christ we can observe that our own hands, feet, arms, legs, organs, etc. do no operate either apart from the body or on their own authority.
As we move among the world in our workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, grocery stores, and everyday life our role is to operate under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. The function we have as part of the body of Christ is to be like Jesus to the world. We are calling men and women, boys and girls to a relationship with Jesus. We are to be meek. We are to be vessels of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must remember that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness. That person who we disagree with on a great number of things…Jesus died for them, Jesus loves them, and we are to love them too.
Paul also calls us the bride of Christ in Ephesians. In most cases that I know of, the bride is more open to the needs and concerns of others than the husband. There is just something about the way God made them that makes them see things that husbands miss. It is wonderful and beautiful the vastness of creativity in our makeup.
As the bride of Christ, the church is to be open to the needs and concerns of others. In the Gospel accounts we see Jesus, time and again, meeting people in the physical needs to bring them to where their spiritual needs will be met. How will the church respond to those who need healthcare, counseling, a place to stay, who have been kicked out of homes and families because they are pregnant. We have prayed for the Lord to overturn Roe vs. Wade, now we must follow up the answer to that prayer as the bride of Christ.
This is all great and wonderful to say, but how do we do all that? That will look different for each local church as part of the bride. Even within each church, each family and every person will decide how they are to function as part of the body. Wherever God is leading you, whatever you decide, what we cannot do is nothing. God has given us a new opportunity to be the church that He intends us to be.
Now is the time to be the Church.
Rev. Joshua Goepfrich
Pastor, Hilltop Community Church