I was thinking the other day about ones and twos.  One cat, two cats.  One dog, two dogs. It kind of breaks when you get to one fish, because it’s also two fish, or a school of fish.  Fish are different.

And then there is the United States.  It’s not really as big of a jump as it seems.  Just like you can’t tell from the word whether “fish” is singular or plural, some people think the United States is singular – “The United States is”.  Some people think it’s plural – “The United States are”.  Sometimes it depends on the context – looking outside can be different than looking within the borders.  And sometimes it depends on who you’re talking to – a big believer in states’ rights is much more likely to see the plural, as opposed to somebody who’s in favor of a big federal government.

All those things are examples, helping us to start thinking about important things like the church.  Ephesians 5:23 says “Christ also is the head of the church”, so that’s pretty clear.  And Colossians 1:8 says “He is also head of the body, the church”.  We have Jesus as the head and the church as the body.  One head, one body.  But wait – are we part of the same body as that church around the corner, that church down the road?  That megachurch in California? Well, only if you believe the Bible.

And that means when you read First Corinthians 12:16, which says “And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?”, you should think about your place in this church, Connections Christian Church.  And you should think about the place of Connections in relation to all the other parts of the body.

Then we start applying this same thinking in hard ways.  First Corinthians 12:27 says “As for you, you are the body of Christ, and individually you are members of it”. Is that true? When you think of yourself and Jesus Christ, do you think single or plural? Integrated and one, or a duality? First Corinthians 11:28-29 says “Each one must examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

If that makes you scared, congratulations. You have started to understand Philippians 2:12 – “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. But notice that it says to continue – you aren’t coming into this as an outsider, because Jesus Christ, the head of the church and the head of you, gave himself as a sinless sacrifice on the cross. First Timothy 4:10 says “we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe”. That’s you and me, because of the body and blood of Jesus.  Let’s pray.

Father God, I remember the Shema. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is one”. You don’t want division, disunity. The world was created as one, and then separated by sin. Jesus’ sacrifice, which we celebrate now with the wafer and the juice, brought the hope of salvation, the hope of unity to all of mankind. Thank You for the gift of Your only begotten Son, Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.