1 Corinth. 12: “Anatomy Shuffle”

Growing up in youth group we used to play a game called “Anatomy Shuffle.” The premise of the game was rather easy. Forming two circles and partnered with a teammate, a person would could call out two body parts and you had to be the first to put those two parts together.

Example: the leader would call out, “elboy to kneecap,” the two teammates would rush to find each other and get their two parts together to complete the challenge. Whoever was the slowest had to sit down. It always got interesting when you would yell out, “forehead to forehead.”

It’s a super fun game, but it also has a strong point. The point is, you need both parts to complete the challenge.Think of it this way, you can’t win the game alone. Even the most competitive, “I-can-do-anything-and-I-don’t-need-anyone-else-person,” can’t get their right elbow to their left ear.

The Behind the Scenes Folks

Paul desires for the Corinthian church to recognize how much they need each other. It’s not a coincidence that we just read about Paul’s disgust for the way the rich were treating the poor in Chapter 11, and now we’re reading words like, 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

Although Paul isn’t talking about the poor in verse 22, he is talking about a group of people who are at times equally marginalized in the church, the Behind the Sceners. Behind the Sceners may not be out front exercising their spiritual gifts, but it doesn’t make them any less important to the Body of Christ, the church. Speaking as a Pastor: We need our behind the scenes people! In fact, the church wouldn’t thrive without people who God has spiritually gifted to work in the background. I would agree wholeheartedly with Paul that these folks are actually the most necessary. 

Paul really stresses the importance that each person has in the body of Christ, and that we truly need each other. Think of the church like a band, better yet, a choir. The choir analogy fits better with Paul’s language in verse 25 (NLT) 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.

Harmony

Growing up and into college I’ve had the distinct privilege of singing in some incredible choirs and ensembles. I was even blessed my freshman year at ENC to sing at Jordan Hall with players from the famed New England Conservatory of Music. If there’s one thing I love about a choir its the complex harmonies and sounds a mass choir can make. There were many times while singing I would be amazed at what we were able to do. I can still remember all the words and tenor part to “My Times Are In Your Hands,” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

Truth is, it would sound a little funny if I was to sing just the tenor part without the other parts. It’s kind of funny, but I have a really hard time singing melody! I’ve been singing harmony for so much of my life I can’t hear the melody in some songs. But without a person singing the melody, the harmony sounds silly …And so it is with the church.

If the church was comprised of all tenors it would be, well… awesome, but that’s not my point. My point is, if in the choir of life you’re a Soprano, than carry the melody! If in the choir of life you’re a Bass, hold us firmly to the foundation of the song around us. You know the Alto’s in your church, they’re the serious ones who like to get the job done!

But just like a band, or a choir, when you spend enough time together, and travel together, you become family. Paul’s talking to a church here that is becoming a family. He’s wants them to see the unity in their diversity. He wants them to recognize that each one of them, like each one of you, has a special role in the life of the church.

1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (NLT) 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.