Creekside Church
Sermon of October 4, 2020

"It Does a Body Good"
1 Corinthians 10:12-21

Pastor
Rosanna McFadden

 

Good morning! It is good to be back with you, and especially to be back with you in this place. Today, as we prepare for the service of communion and sharing the bread and cup, we have a chance to reflect on one of the mysteries which is at the heart of the Christian faith: we share the body of Christ in the elements of communion, and at the same time we are the body of Christ: not only this group of Christians here in Elkhart, Indiana, but part of the body of Christ in every part of the world. As the Apostle Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 10, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” This will make you head hurt if you think about it took much, trust me.

Because you don’t have bulletins, you probably don’t know the title of my sermon -- the Media Center and Lodema might. I’ll be asking for your participation in the sermon this morning, and I want to start with the title: “It Does A Body Good.” I didn’t come up with that phrase myself, but even after I put it down for the title, I couldn’t quite remember where I’d heard it. It turns out it was an advertising slogan from the 1980s -- in case you don’t remember the 1980s, they were back when the only way to see advertisements was to watch TV. At least it was in color. Do any of you remember that slogan? It Does a Body Good? Sorry if you’re out in your car or in a Sunday School classroom. You must be inside the Worship Center to play. It’s OK if there’s some collective amnesia about the 1980s. The slogan was Milk: It Does a Body Good. Dairy producers were promoting milk as a way to build strong teeth and bones.

So the question I want you to ponder before I get to the end of this sermon (you have about 9 more minutes) is: as the body of Christ, what word do we need to hear or practice or receive that does a body good. It does Christ’s body good. I’m going to ask you to share your answer or answers out loud with the group. If this were a children’s story, the safe answer would be Jesus. But we’re already talking about the body of Christ -- so while I could be talked into that answer, I hope you will think beyond that. So you go ahead and formulate your answers, and I’ll keep talking.

There’s been a lot of focus on bodies in the past few months: our physical bodies and what they mean for our own health and for the health of others; the terrible reality of a virus which can leave my body feeling fine and still infect yours with something virulent and potentially deadly. My actions -- even if they are innocent and inadvertent, can have a negative effect on you. There are also political bodies and national bodies which carry their own kinds of disease -- not biological, but system: misinformation, injustice, hatred, disrespect. Of course there is health in these bodies too: equal representation, justice, heroism and sacrifice. Like our physical bodies, people joined by conviction and purpose are usually some kind of mix of healthy and not-so healthy. Physical bodies need a balance nutrition and exercise and relaxation and sleep in order to stay healthy. Organizations need leadership and participation and vision and enthusiasm. How about the body of Christ? What builds it up, gives it strength and makes it grow in healthy ways?

Paul’s warning to the Corinthians is based in concerns about how to handle food which was sacrificed to idols, and the effect of that food not only on our physical bodies, but to the body of Christ. This may seem quaint to us in the 21st Century. Few of us (I hope!) have physical images or statues of gods or goddesses to whom we make physical offerings. But before we are too smug about our lack of idolatry, we need to take a long hard look at where we have placed our allegiance -- especially if it is somewhere other than Jesus Christ. Is our allegiance to a political party or presidential candidate? Is it to science and medicine? Is it to our nation and military? Our own rights as citizens? Making and keeping as much money as we can? These are all things we may believe in and support, but we can give only one thing top priority. What does the body of Christ good? What is our highest calling as member of the body of Christ? I hope you’re thinking of answers, because I’m going to stop posing questions pretty soon.

Partaking, sharing, celebrating -- whatever verb you choose to use -- in the body of Christ is a privilege we should never take for granted. People have given their lives to share this service of communion: not just dedicated their lives to the service of Christ, but literally been willing to die rather than give it up as their top priority. Even today, as we join in the service of communion with Christians around the world, there are believers in places where it is illegal to be Christian or to convert to Christianity. Amazingly, the body of Christ may be healthier where it must stand up to persecution than places where we have taken it for granted and realized that it is growing weaker.

I want to hear from you: What does a body good? Specifically, what does the body of Christ good? What is the nourishment and the exercise and the rest which we need? I’ll repeat your answers so folks outside of the Worship Center can hear them.

Sisters and brothers, we have been invited to the Lord’s table this morning: we are given the opportunity to partake of the body of Christ, and to become the body of Christ. Not because we are worthy, but because we need one another and Christ needs us to go out into the world to make disciples of all nations. This bread and cup are the sign that Christ is with us always -- even to the end of the age.

 

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