WE ALL “BELONG”
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all immersed / baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were given to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Cor 12: 12-14)
The Body of Christ, the Church, is God’s answer to our human need, nay, our human thirst, to “belong.” And yet it seems that it is in the Church, both in our time and in St. Paul’s time, (which is why he writes the assurances he does above), that many of us, at least from time to time, quite easily come to feel that we do “not” belong. Why? As far as I’ve observed, it’s usually because of our temporal, merely-human distinctions from one another, – of nationality or ethnic background (e.g., non-Greeks or non-Russians might at times feel alienated in a Greek or Russian parish), or of marital status (e.g., single or divorced people might feel like outsiders in a parish made up predominantly of families), or of gender or education (e.g., women, particularly highly-educated women, might feel superfluous in certain parishes), or of age (e.g., a young person might feel out-of-place within an older church-community), or of the pastoral “style” and in/sensitivities of our parish-priest to all-of-the-above.
But we do “belong,” St. Paul reminds us, – “all” of us, – in any parish, and regardless of all-of-the-above. How? “By one Spirit,” and by “drinking of one Spirit.” He is “the bottom line” of our unity, not only on Sundays, but every day. Regardless of how much or how little I am “involved” in church-related programs or activities, (and note that I’m not denying or belittling the benefit of those), it is not these activities that are our primary Source of Unity. So if I find myself feeling like I don’t “belong” today, even perhaps amidst the hustle-and-bustle of church-related “work,” let me rush back to the Source of Oneness in this world, and pray as Christ prayed with us, in His and our Spirit: “Our Father,” I say to God with and for all of us, “Thy kingdom come,” and “Thy will be done” with all of us today, as You see fit.