by Ken Rolheiser
Being the Body of Christ

In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus. 
"These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."
"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"

When we are organized in Christ and the Holy Spirit, we can achieve much. In World War II Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite under his control. Half the Brethren assemblies complied and half refused. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. Almost every family of those who resisted lost someone in a concentration camp. 

When the war was over, there was bitter tension between the two groups. They met in quiet retreat. After several days of prayer and examining their hearts, they came together. They were one again. After confessing their hostility to God and yielding to his control, the Holy Spirit created unity among them. Love replaced hatred. (Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992).

We are one in that unity, thanks to Christ who has made us one body infused with one Spirit. “And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ.

“In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect being, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

There is a metaphor huge enough to represent this oneness in Christ. The aspen tree is only a small part of a larger organism. The single trunk above the surface is connected to a single but massive root system underground.

A stand of Aspens in Utah in a place called Pando covers over 163 acres, all connected underground in their roots. This single stand is the oldest known tree at over 80,000 years. Older than the giant sequoias, this one stand is estimated at 6,600 tons.

What makes this an excellent metaphor for the Body of Christ is that it would be difficult to wipe out its growth. The root system reproduces rapidly, and the aspen survives even in desert conditions if it is near a source of water.

Christ is that source of water – “whoever drinks the water I will give them will never thirst.” (John 4:14). This water continues “welling up”.

There is power in the Body of Christ. In the New Testament story about a man with a shriveled hand, the one thing he could not do was stretch out his hand. Yet Jesus said to him, “Stretch out your hand,” and immediately it was completely restored. (Mark. 3:5).

The Body of Christ is not without suffering. Christ was lacerated, pierced and crucified. In 2000 years the Church has suffered much persecution. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John. 15:18).

(552 words)