Friday, 17 October 2014

"Fearfully and wonderfully made"…

"Fearfully and wonderfully made"

The fully and rightly functioning human body is a marvel to behold and a great privilege to experience. Can there be any more complex creation than this? The most complex manufacturing unit of man's devising pales into insignificance when compared with our body.

Think of the brain, with its ability to analyse sensation, to synthesise thought, to store many thousands of pieces of information, and to recall remarkable detail without the flick of a switch or the press of a button or the turning of a page. Think of the heart/that continuous pump, which needs no regular servicing, but processes just the right amount of blood at the correct rate without the need to adjust dial or setting. Think of the eye, which is able to transform colour, shape and size without distortion or exaggeration in such a form that it might be accepted by the brain and visualised. Think of the ear, which distinguishes sound from sound and conveys the difference between the loud and the faint.
Think of the arm, the wrist, the hand, and the fingers and thumbs, which grasp, hold, lift, move, support and throw. Think of the thighs, the knees, the legs, the ankles, the feet and the toes, designed to permit movement from place to place, with muscle and bone working in unison with little conscious thought as to how this is achieved. Think of the complex reactions occurring at just the right time, at the appropriate place, producing just the right chemicals at the required concentration.
Few of us are able to acquire any real appreciation of the complexity of the body and the way in which its many parts function together, supporting and relying upon each other. Yet even with our sparse knowledge we each can wonder, as did David, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14), and marvel that this is the gift that God has given us to experience, enjoy and use.
It is, then, perhaps not surprising that this pinnacle of God's creation should be used in figure to convey essential teachings and principles. The Apostle Paul, under inspiration, repeatedly draws on this figure.[1] To the Romans he wrote:
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us . . . let us . . . " (12:4-6);
and he goes on to explain how these gifts should be used to the benefit of the body.
In the natural body each organ has a special function different from that of the others. Each is essential. Without any one the body suffers and cannot perform as it otherwise would. So it is with us as the members of the "body in Christ". Abuse, misuse and non-use of the abilities God has given us mean that the performance of the body, of which we are an essential part, is impaired.
One of the great challenges of being different members of a body is to appreciate that my fellow brother or sister in Christ is not me. They have different physical and mental capacities. Their strength of feeling on issues is different. They place different emphasis on the features that make up the disciple's life. They are not necessarily wrong and I right, although that is how I often see it; rather, the unity to which we are called is one of mutual support and encouragement to appreciate and emulate the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote that as "children . . . speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:14-16).
1 Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 6:19; 10:17; 12:12-31; Eph. 1:23; 3:6; 4:4,12-16; 5:23-30; Col. 1:18; 2:19; 3:15.