Ps Tan Hui Ru


Christians are part of the Body of Christ, interdependent on each other (1 Cor 12:12-31) – many of us know this and understand this, at least in theory. We know that we need different gifts in the church, we know that no one gift is more exalted than another, and we know that we should expect differences in the congregation. But sometimes I wonder if we’ve thought about the implications of this in how we treat each other and in what we expect of each other, and I wonder if we have indeed experienced the fullness of this in our church life.

Why do I say this? Because being interdependent in this way means that ultimately what we are concerned about is the welfare of the whole, rather than of individual parts, and it means that we should not hesitate to ask for what we need from the rest of the Body and in fact the whole Body should be looking out for what constituent parts need and providing it.

Put more concretely, it means that pointing to the Sunday worship service as an example of different gifts working together is not enough, by itself it is no different from any production with different people working together to do different things. It means that in everything we do, we are not concerned about our individual benefit or convenience or preference, but about what makes sense for the whole and what benefits the whole. So even if the worship songs chosen are slower than I would like, or played with instruments that I don’t think fit, or if there are no slides to help me follow, or the slides move too fast/slow and perhaps I don’t like their aesthetic, and even if things aren’t at a particularly convenient time for me, I consider the benefit for the whole of the Body and prioritise that over the benefit to me (or lack thereof).

Interdependence means thinking about what the children and the youth need and making an effort to resource that at the cost of resourcing to the adults, it means willingness to do what isn’t your responsibility (like moving tables and arranging chairs) and looking out for what needs to be done but isn’t done yet (Is there someone greeting newcomers? Do the ushers need help in cordoning off the last pews for latecomers?), it means showing love in practical ways to the whole Body.

And love is indeed the most excellent way (1 Cor 12:31b), and love is how the world will know that we follow Christ (John 13:35). May our every thought and action be characterised by love, love that is centred on the other and not on ourselves.