“…But earnestly desire and strive for the greater gifts [if acquiring them is going to be your goal]. And yet, I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love” (1 Corinthians 12:31 Amplified).
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Well past the midnight hour, I had an amazing revelation about the church, referring to the followers of Christ, while reading my Bible. Christ’s relationship with the church is not describing a building or a place; therefore, the church is WHO WE ARE, not where we go. Given this realization, Christianity has everything to do with a RELATIONSHIP with our Savior and Redeemer, by which we are all united. Solidarity describes the connectedness of a group through cohesion or the action of forming a united whole, and this solidarity is defined as “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest, mutual support within a group.” Within the realm of solidarity, there exist both facets, mechanical and organic. Given the way that we define solidarity, as disciples within the body of Christ, the church should be united by unselfish love to form the most intimate solidarity with one another. “We are united in Jesus Christ.”So then, is the solidarity of the Church mechanical or organic? The Apostle Paul gives detailed teaching in his epistle to the Corinthians on unity in the body of Christ and how the church operates in the following scripture:
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“If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole [body] were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now [as things really are], God has placed and arranged the parts in the body, each one of them, just as He willed and saw fit [with the best balance of function]. If they all were a single organ, where would [the rest of] the body be? But now, there are many parts [different limbs and organs], but a single body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ But quite the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are [absolutely] necessary; and as far as those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, these we treat with greater honor; and our less presentable parts are treated with greater modesty, while our more presentable parts do not require it. But God has combined the [whole] body, giving greater honor to that part which lacks it, so that there would be no division or discord in the body [that is lack of adaptation of the parts to each other], but that the parts may have the same concern for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:17-26 Amplified).
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines organic as the relationship between elements, each unique in its individual function, of something such that they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole. Therefore, in organic solidarity, the function of the unit is said to be organic “insofar as they consist of a system of different organs, each one of which has a special role and which themselves are formed from differentiated [yet complimentary] parts” (Braiterman 2018). The illustration in this scripture, detailing the function of the human body is a beautiful example of organic solidarity. In such unity, “precisely because our relations [as a church] are organic,” this strong bond will not allow an individual to break away from the group without doing damage to itself and the entire body, thus not easily broken. This example could go as far as to say that disease/illness, broken bones, and even mental illness serve as the deviance that seeks to stop the normal function of our body by its attack on various members to disrupt our overall state of homeostasis; more plainly, our BALANCE. This is identical to the way that Satan seeks to disrupt our purpose and function as members of Christ’s body.
Like any other organic solidarity group, the fight to stop the spread of such deviance would be rehabilitative. Whether this is some form of medication to stop the spread of infection, therapy to recover from an injury, or behavioral health treatment to solidify new pathways for our bodies to decrease pain while it fights for the natural healing process to restore itself. Each unique function of the body has its own unique way of protecting its most vulnerable and vital organs. I speculate that this would make cancer, heart disease, and other illness/injury that poses a threat to our life, our limbs, our eyesight, or our ability to reproduce are an example of formal deviance, while our minor afflictions such as indigestion or superficial injuries (only affecting to the outer layer of skin) could be considered minor or informal deviance. Given this speculation, we quickly realize how important each individual organ is when any deviance hinders its proper function. Such is the importance and purpose of every Christian united by the Holy Spirit.
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My clinical instructor in the army practical nurse course often quoted Dr. Harry Johnson, who said, “The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.” Paul further explains this miraculous resilience of the body in his statement about our support towards one another as members of one body, which reads, “And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it. Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually [you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function]” (1 Corinthians 12:27 Amplified).
Braiterman, Zachary. 2018. “Religious Life & The Division of Labor in Society (Durkheim).” Jewish Philosophy Place. Retrieved April 12, 2020 (https://jewishphilosophyplace.com/2017/11/08/religious-life-the-division-of-labor-in-society-durkheim/).
Siewert, Frances E. 1958. The Amplified Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
I Believe Videos, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGJSPDgPltM.
“We Are The Church.”The 1st Follower, https://the1stfollower.com/2011/12/05/we-are-the-church/.