Friends. Family. Acquaintances. BFF’s. Frenemies. Enemies. Work pals. Chums. Neighbors. Husband. Wife. Mother. Father. Son. Daughter. Significant other. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Brother. Sister. Good Friend. Bad Friend. Boy next door. Evil Stepmom. And so on…
There are so many ways to describe relationships. I could literally go on for quite a while coming up with ways we describe our feelings towards the other people in our lives. And while, I believe it may be somewhat comical, it would probably become repetitive and boring. But one of my all time favorite comparisons for our relationships between each other is the Body of Christ, Family, Brothers and Sisters in the faith.
Mostly because our bodies are so complex, they change, they grow, they develop – a lot like any good relationship.
Did you know scientists now describe our genome as 4 dimensional?
I remember reading about that description a few years ago, but it never really made any impact on me until recently when I watched a new documentary. These scientists were describing our DNA in such a way that I couldn’t fathom anyone in the world still claiming that there is not an intelligent, purposeful design behind how we’re made. The first level was described as that DNA model I remember from school that looks like a ladder with the combination of letters (two on each ladder rung) to make up the instructions for, well, us. But it becomes much more complex that that. In the next dimension, those combinations of instructions become more complicated because one piece turns on another set of instruction, or deactivates another part, then there are certain parts that enhance characteristics, and it keeps on working making my hair a different shade of brown for example. Then, the 3rd dimension. The description in this particular documentary was that the ladder folds back over on itself and needs to function at a whole new level. So whoever designed the set of instructions for Step 1 needed to know enough for it to still work in Step 3 and combine together to make an additional set of instructions. (Mind blown yet?) Then, what I found particularly fascinating was the description of the 4th dimension.
Over time, our bodies are created to respond to different situations. If we have a virus introduced into our system, then our genome can actually recognize that intruder, change it’s composition to create antibodies to fight off the enemy, and then return to it’s normal composition once the threat is gone.
Now your mind is blown right?
As believers, as the church, we are described as the Body of Christ. I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown up hearing that compared to the hand and the elbow don’t have the same function, and they’re both important. Which is true. But in my overly sarcastic mind in those days, my immediate thought, was yeah, but you get a limb cut off and you really can learn to function again just fine.
I believe we are more intricately connected than that.
Our culture uses all those terms to describe relationship status, many of those relationships come down to the flavor of the week. We can live out an entire relationship on facebook, get overly annoyed and offended at the political posts our friend continues to share, and click a button to “unfriend” them. So many of our relationships with friends and family are limited to social media, and even in person, they’re often conditional. They hurt us, or they didn’t call, or they didn’t stick up for us. We so often become stuck in a mindset of protecting ourselves, that we forget we are called by our creator to love. That instead of treating relationships as disposable, we are made to be the Body of Christ.
There couldn’t be a better analogy out there. When I think of how perfectly our bodies are made down to the molecular composition.. That tells me how important the Body of Christ is , how interdependent and beautiful it is. And when I read about how He puts the lonely into families, and that we are to prefer our brothers and sisters above others.. It all brings an air of eternity to me. The depth of that kind of relationship cannot be replicated or duplicated outside the power of Christ Jesus. Of course we have our natural families that have a lot of special meaning – and I’m not discounting the power and significance of those relationships – But I, at this point, don’t know if things will get to a point where I will see most of my natural family after death. I hope and pray that changes.
It’s the people that I know distance, time or death in this life isn’t going to every change that connection because there’s an entire eternity coming, that I truly consider family. That I really honestly love and treasure. That I get ninja style protective over. The ones I know can tell me I’m completely wrong and I can hear what they’re saying because I know that tomorrow, they’re the ones cheering me on.
Just like that 4th dimension, the body of Christ matures and changes over time. We change our schedules and priorities to help out another going through a particularly hard season of their lives. As our individual walks with Christ move forward, it changes the rest of the body, and we all move forward. It changes as God directs people in and out of our communities and fellowships. And all thru those changes, the body as a whole grows stronger, together.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Psalm 68:5-6 NIV