If skipping church makes you a heathen, I’m in. I left church early this week (after skipping the morning service entirely) with a splitting headache. By time I made it home fifteen minutes later, my whole body was aching and I was dragging myself into bed. When I woke up several hours later, the headache had dissipated, and I felt ready to get on with my day, though I was still slightly groggy. I passed it off as just being tired and spent the evening hanging with friends. All evening, my contact lens bothered me to the point where I finally took it out on the drive home. My eye was burning, painful, and extremely sensitive to light, my headache was back, and my nose started running incessantly. Once again, I went straight to bed, hoping to sleep it off. No such luck. Teaching riding lessons the next morning required sunglasses and covering my right eye due to the extreme light sensitivity. Reading was impossible. Driving was dangerous. Being not easily deterred, however, I attempted to continue with life, driving with one hand over my eye, squinting, and wiping the ever-flowing tears away. Eventually, my path took me past my eye doctor’s and on an impulse, I pulled in and asked if one of the doctors was available to check out my increasingly painful eye. Shortly thereafter, the doctor concluded his excruciating exam of my eye by giving me some numbing eye drops. The relief was instant. I could finally open my eye. The headache disappeared. Even the runny nose cleared. When the image of my eye was projected onto a screen, the scratch that caused me so much pain was minuscule. Yet it drastically affected the rest of my body.
As I pondered on the immediate relief given by the eye drops, I realized that the Body of Christ works the same way. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says that when one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body suffers with it. I wonder if I, as shaped by the individualistic American culture, really understand my part of the Body of Christ. When I hear of other Christians who are suffering, I don’t tend to be overly empathetic. I may say that I will pray for them, and even whisper a prayer or two, but then I nonchalantly move along with life, often leaving all thoughts of the hurting friend behind. If my experience with a scratched cornea is any example of how God created to body to function, then I am not doing my duty as a part of the Body of Christ. I haven’t yet processed how to remedy this fault, but I suppose the first step to fixing a problem is identifying it?