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God’s Body Shop         © Elisabeth R. Jones, 2013.

 A dramatic reading and reflection on 1 Corinthians 12,  for six voices. For use in worship, for Epiphany 3 C.

1 (pausing and pondering)  I wonder….. am I a hand?  Maybe I’m a foot?
No…. I think I’m something inside, like an artery!
Then again, I could be a nose-hair or something…..

2: What  are  you talking about? Nose hairs and arteries?  You’re a person!

1: I was reading this passage from Paul, about being a part of the body of Christ.
I’m just trying to figure out which part I  am.   I just hope I’m not something useless, like a wisdom tooth, or an appendix!

3 Maybe you’re something icky, or gooey…  I hope I’m not mucus!!

2 Stop!  I need you to tell me what on earth you’re talking about!
We’re supposed to be doing the Scripture now, and this doesn’t sound like it to me.

3 But it is, it’s from 1 Corinthians 12.

2 The only bit of Corinthians I know is all about love, not nose hairs and mucus.

1 Guess we’d better tell you then.  Paul was writing to this crazy little church in Corinth. It was full of sailors, and net makers, and bureaucrats, and Greeks, and Jews, and a hodge-podge from all over the Mediterranean.  It sounds to me like the community were going madly off in all directions, and arguing  over whose version of the Good News of Jesus was the best one.   Paul is trying to get them to slow down, work together, and instead of arguing about Jesus, to actually get around to behaving like Jesus.

3 Yes, and in this part of the letter, Paul was trying to find some analogy, or metaphor to make him sound less harping and preachy, but still get the point across, about living the gospel.

2 And he picked a body? Why did he pick a body?

1 Dunno, but it works ….  I still can’t quite figure out what bit of the body I am, though.

2 Hold up! I still don’t get why a body metaphor works.

3 Well, let’s read a bit for you then you can see for yourself how it works, and then you can help us figure out which body parts we’re going to be at Cedar Park.

1 Hmm, cough … Paul writes: “Now there are many gifts, but they all come from the one source: God’s Holy Spirit. And there are various forms of ministry or service, but always they originate with God’s Spirit.  Everyone has a gift and a form of service; their unique way to show God in the world…

2 I’m sorry but what does this have to do with parts of the body? I don’t see the connection.

3 That’s because (s)he’s reading the wrong bit, jump ahead a few  verses, will you?

1 Well it makes more sense if you read that bit!  
Many gifts, One Spirit… but if you insist… here we go….
In the same way, (as there being one spirit, many gifts)
 your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body.

3 Then he writes:  “And so it is with the body of Christ.  And we are Christ’s body.  For by God’s Spirit, we have been brought together, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -  that was for Corinth, but I dare say for here, now, we’d say, we’ve been brought together, young and old, people of all colours, nationalities, Francophones and Anglophones, longtimers, newcomers, singers and croakers,  tall people, short,… or any other distinction, like young, old, colour of skin, nationality), and that same Spirit gifts us with skills to become one body at work in the world.

1 I think they get the point!.. all sorts of people brought together, Paul writes, “by the Holy Spirit, who gifts us each with skills and talents to become one body at work in the world.”
Then Paul gets into it further, he says…

3 “For a body, although it is one, is made up of many parts”  Right?

Group 4,5,6, come up to the microphones to join in. (readers 1 -3 step back for this section)

4 If, I a foot, were to think “ Because I’m not a hand, I’m not part of this body”, it doesn’t stop it being part of the body. It just is.

5 And an ear can’t say “ I wanted to be an eye, and because I’m not, I won’t bother being an ear.”  It is still an ear, and still part of the body.

6 Or try this:  If the whole body were an eye,  how then could the body hear, or walk, or be able to smell things? “God designed the human body to be many different parts working together to be a body.”

4 The eye can’t say to the hand “ I don’t need you.”

5 The head can’t tell the feet “ You’re not needed either.”

6 Think about how important some of the most tiny, or hidden, or weak body parts are to the health of a body! A capillary is as necessary as an aorta. There are parts we can’t even name, but we need them to live.

4 And where would the body be without a stomach? Even in aging bodies or bodies that can’t walk,  or don’t see, or hear too well anymore, we still need everything in its place, all the parts working together so that we can be a body.

5 Indeed, if one part of the body suffers, or is hurt, or gets sick, the whole body suffers with it, and works harder to help to heal the suffering part.

6 And when the eye sees beauty, or the skin enjoys the feeling of a hot shower, doesn’t the whole body rejoice?!

2 Hold on,  Paul can’t have said  “ a hot shower”!  You’re making this up now!

6 Not making it up, but making sense of it.  He did write “ If one part of the body is honoured, the whole body rejoices”  so we wanted to show you what ‘biblical language’ might mean today… and I happen to like hot showers a lot. Makes me feel great all over.

 Readers 4,5,6, step back from mics, 1,2,3, step forward.

2 Fair enough, I “get” it about the body rejoicing in a hot shower, or even the ear enjoying a great song on my ipod..  but I’m still not quite getting why this matters when we’re trying to follow the way of Jesus, the Gospel.

3 Eugene Peterson helps a lot; he writes it this way:
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

1 Now do you see why we are trying to figure out which bit of the body we are?   I really want to be something useful, and if not useful, I hope I’m beautiful (handsome)!

2  But I’m not sure that’s the point, is it?  It’s not really about body parts in a literal sense… 

3 Though  you have to admit, it is kind of fun to imagine how many nose-hairs, and fingers and toes we might have out here, among us all!!

2 But as you’ve all just read it to me, I don’t think it’s about which bit you are, it’s about the fact that you’re a part of one body, together.  There’s no point in being a beautiful toe, or an awesome back muscle, if you’re not connected to the rest of the body, is there?

1 I…. guess you’re right!  If I’m a finger, I still need the hand, and the arm, and the brain, and the lungs, and the blood, and the heart….. and nerves…. to be able to be a decent finger.  Can’t play Chopin if I don’t have 9 other digits to play the other notes with me, can I Douglas?

3 It’s not about me, at all, but about me, with you, and all of you (Pointing to congregation).  I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

2 And,  I’m also thinking about something you said right at the beginning…. it’s not just about us all working as parts of a body, together either.

1 It isn’t? 

2 Well, it is, but we not just any body,  we are “Christ’s Body”…. isn’t that what one of you read? Something about  the Holy Spirit bringing all sorts of people together to be the Body of Christ at work in the world.

Readers 4 – 6 take over at  the mics again

4 Which is why God gifts some of us with teaching skills,  and some of us with the ability to read Scripture and see the liveliness of God in it.

5 And others, God gifts to be busy with acts of compassion, and others with a passion for justice for others.

6 Some people are gifted by God to care for children, or seniors,  and others still with the gift of healing pathway,  or listening well.
4 God calls others to work like the hidden body parts, keeping the building safe and inviting,
or putting up the hymn numbers, or running the sound desk, or typing the bulletins, or chairing the board, or working in a ministry team..

2 Lean over to the mic to interrupt.
I think you people are making it up again…. or are you just making sense?

4 Making sense. Paul wrote, “apostles, visionaries, teachers, healers, helpers, organizers, people who pray with strength”.  We’re just saying the same things in ways that are relevant to Cedar Park in 2013.

5 And Paul also finishes up by saying, as you rightly pointed out, that together, we are all

6 The body of Christ!

1 Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church
ALL Thanks be to God

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