“Well, Tim,” Dr Rajah began in his lilting Indian accent, pronouncing each syllable distinctly. “Your urinary tract infection is clearing up enough for me to release you from the hospital.”
“Praise God,” I said, heaving a sigh. Tim’s face still looked like his sheet, but he mustered a smile. In a ward-like room with twelve other sick men, he was more than ready to go home.
“Now,” Dr. Rajah continued, “you will need to follow some instructions.” He handed me a list of directions, asking, “What is your religion?”
“Protestant,” Tim replied.
Impatient, he said, “No, what kind of Christian are you?” The doctor’s forehead began to wrinkle and his fingers moved with agitation through his glossy black hair.
Puzzled, Tim and I just looked at him. We didn’t know what answer he was looking for. Abruptly, the doctor threw his arm up in the air.
“You Christians have chopped the body of Christ into many pieces,” he said dropping his arm like an ax. “What piece of Christ’s body are you?”
We were struck dumb. Just a young couple – Bible college students – we had no answer for him. Dr. Rajah went on to explain if our religion allowed, he wanted Tim to drink two beers a day. Beer is a highly efficient diuretic, and it would help flush the infection from his system.
As I remember that day, I wish I had known how to explain the body of Christ to Dr. Rajah.
Rather than diced pieces of Christ’s body, denominations are living, growing parts of our Savior’s body. Throughout history, God has taken wars, strife, splits, growth, new ideas, and even petty disagreements and healed the wounds of those who were willing, grafting them firmly to his body. Of course, some movements, unwilling to bond, have faded away.
But as various denominations developed and represented a part of the body, they became like missionaries; those sent to deliver the gospel to a group of people untouched or disillusioned by previous traditional deliveries. Some of the churches are distinctly unique, and others are quite similar.
I’m reminded of an evening sunset, one I remember in particular. On my way home that day, I drove around a deep curve, up a steep hill, and into an explosion of color. The lingering sun had cast a bright amber glow behind a stunning array of colors.
The sky was a panorama of baby blues, marine blues, and the lightest-barely-blue. Loud, bright pinks and soft pinks swam with creamy vanilla across the horizon, splashing with silky peach tones and swirls of sweet violet satin. These beautiful colors did not simply lie across the horizon. No, they danced around arm in arm. Like an ocean wave, they intermingled, cresting here and falling there.
So too, the body of Christ is a variety of dancing colors, textures, sounds, scents, and flavors. Each part of the body ministers to group of souls who respond best to its particularities.
Dr. Rajah had it all wrong. Christians haven’t chopped Christ’s body into pieces; we are all beautiful parts of his anatomy.
Only God can view the wondrous masterpiece that together, we form. And like the sunset, we look spectacular.
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