Suffering with the Poor: God's Remedy for Division in the Church
"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." 1 Corinthians 12: 24-26.
"Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body." 1 Corinthians 12:15
"so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:5.
These Scripture passages hit me over the head like a lead brick this morning because they helped me to understand why the Church is so divided in the U.S. in this historic moment. As 2,000 verses of God's Word declare, God has a special concern for immigrants, the poor, and all who are marginalized--they are given greater honor by God in the Body of Christ because of their suffering, and because they are denied honor in the world. Yet, for the most part, the middle class Church in America does not demonstrate this greater honor to the poor in its midst; nor does it express equal concern for those on the margins and suffer with them as God instructs. Black and Brown youth continue to lose their lives; immigrant families continue to be senselessly destroyed; and the suffering of poor whites is also overlooked. Should we be surprised that the Body of Christ is so divided? Sisters and brothers, we belong to one another. We need each other. We are one Body. We are all in the same boat. We will sink or survive together. Jesus sits in the boat with us. Will we listen?