But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. I Corinthians 12:24-25
The metaphor of the body as a sum of its parts, with importance and interconnectivity afforded equally to even seemingly insignificant parts, speaks to me as I consider the wonderful diversity among my family, our community and our world. God created each of us with unique gifts and talents, activated by the one Holy Spirit. While we all work in concert to make up God’s world, or the “body,” this passage reminds us to honor and care for the “parts” that are hidden or perhaps deemed weakest. Extending the metaphor, consider that the legs are regarded with strength and power, yet it is the pinky toe and something hidden in our inner ear, that provides balance and stability. I think about the joy of my youngest students and the unconditional love from Tanzanian lives, so far away and different from my own, and I realize where my own balance and stability might come from. The passage cautions us against giving too much attention to “parts” or people that appear superior, but to offer every one equal concern. In so doing, we build each other up, strengthen the “body” and perfect God’s world. It is a call to value and respect each person equally – from our leaders to the wide-eyed four year-old in Godly Play to the many Nzali friends. We all share the same maker, and honoring the gifts and sufferings of each, according to God’s plan, ensures a healthy and productive world.