“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” 1 Corinthians 12:12
The One Body of which we are all members is made up of diverse parts. These articles serve to remind us of the need to be aware of the many members in our ecclesias who are not in families, but who need the same care, as being of equal value in God’s sight. It is a timely reminder to us to try to appreciate each other’s needs and give support and care as we strive to serve Yahweh together.

It is a very uplifting experience to take the time to reflect upon the wonder of the complexity of the family of God in all its parts spread throughout the world as it is today. This “One Body” of Christ “is not one member, but many”, as Paul explains to the Corinthians: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Cor 12:12–14). Elsewhere Paul speaks of this diversity of membership, yet shows the overall purpose of Yahweh in gathering together all in one in His Son. He spoke to the Colossians saying: “Ye have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:10,11); and again to the Galatians: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:27,28).

Yahweh has called individuals from many countries, from all walks of life and from differing circumstances into this “One Body” over which He has set our “Head”, the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning Christ, Paul wrote that God “gave him to be the head over all things to the ecclesia, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph 1:22,23).

Do we accept that it is God who has “set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him”? He is the Father of us all and expects “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor 12:18,25). Paul goes on to say: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (rsv “and individually members of it”, v27). Do we look to the different individual members of that body and give attention to their specific needs as our Father has asked? Service in the body of Christ is a great privilege as well as a heavy responsibility, yet it offers a wonderful reward in the end: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt 25:40). There is nothing more humbling than when making a specific effort to assist those whom you feel are ‘in need of support’ to find that they personally hadn’t noticed their need because they were so engrossed in caring for the needs of others!

Members in Particular

Over the years much has been written about family life in the Lord, and quite rightly so as there is a predominance in the body of married brethren and sisters with families. In this age, possibly more so than in any other, there is the urgent need to keep brethren and sisters focused on the holy principles of marriage and to give sound scriptural guidance on the raising of children in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.

However we neglect our responsibility as a community if we do not recognise that the “One Body” has many members, and that married couples with families are but a part of this body. In fact it may be a surprise to note how many there are in different circumstances but who compose the “One Body”. A few minutes spent considering the status of brethren and sisters on our ecclesial roll may be rather enlightening in this regard.

There are a number of brethren and sisters who are now widowed. There are those who have never married and yet others who are separated from their partners. All these have been called and make up the “One Body”. If we are too engrossed in the busy daily toil of caring for the needs of our companion and the children who have been entrusted to us by grace, then we may fail to appreciate that such members have particular needs also. There are those who, although married, may be unable to have children, and those who were married before they were called into the Truth and so have an unbelieving partner. We all need to pause and consider this diverse yet divine selection of people and thoughtfully consider their welfare. We all are individual members in particular of Christ. If we have been lulled into some fictitious comfort zone that we are the “normal” members of Christ because we are married and busy raising our children in an ecclesial system that supports and caters predominantly for such a group with Sunday schools, Youth Groups and the like, then it is time we widened our vision. The body of Christ is much broader in its constitution than this. It is our purpose in these following articles to reflect a little on other groups in the body and ensure that we are mindful of the needs of all.