The Body of Christ

Have you ever been blessed by Twila Paris’s song “How Beautiful”?  It’s a beautiful song about the phenomenon commonly known in Christendom as the body of Christ.

How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty road and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How Beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sins and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

And as He lay down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as He died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price

How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure love so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

I heard that song as a young girl, but I didn’t understand the concept then.  I was part of the Body even then, and I understood that all Christians were God’s people, and that we sometimes referred to them as the Church or the Body of Christ.  What I didn’t get then was that we are God’s representatives, the face by which the rest of the world knows Christ.

The song made so much more sense after I read Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and In His Image, by Dr. Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey.  This pair made the Apostle Paul’s analogy, comparing Christians to a physical body, come to life.  We are not only Christ’s hands and feet, but his lips, his skin, his blood.  The analogy, while not perfect, goes much further than I originally gave it credit for.

Some Christians are lungs, they breathe in the fresh air of the Spirit.  Others are like blood vessels, carrying the oxygen (truth) to all other parts of the body.  Most importantly, we as Christians function like skin.  We are the organ through which God touches the world and the people therein.

The analogy is amazing, the books are eye-opening, and the song is an outpouring of love not only for the Body, but for the Head, who is Christ.  In this day and age when Christians are so divided, so willing to go separate ways over such little details, I cannot help but wonder what the Body looks like to the world.  And why God would continue to allow us to bear his name.  It’s only through his grace that we are his representatives.  God grant us more grace that we can act more like our physical analogy, a body whose parts work together for the good of the whole.

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