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Body of Christ 2I like putting jigsaw puzzles together. My family thinks this hobby is one of the lamest activities of all time. The only other person who enjoys them is my brother when he visits for the holidays or comes along to the beach.

Usually, it’s just me and a thousand little pieces. And yet slowly, even the most difficult puzzle, will come together. A whole emerges from all the slivers. I love putting in that last piece, always with a breath of satisfaction. But nothing is worse than a missing piece: disappeared as the result of cat sprawl or a son and his pizza box.

All the pieces are needed, even the seemingly identical blue ones from the sky or the monotonous gray from the shadows. A finished picture is ruined by the loss of even one small fragment. It doesn’t matter where the gap lies in the puzzle, it’s loss is felt, the eye straying to the tiny abyss.

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  [I Corinthians 12:24b-27, The Voice translation]

If I can understand this concept in a puzzle, why is it so hard to really embrace the idea when it comes to the Body of Believers? Is it just because some (most) are different from me? Can’t I suspend my judgments long enough to allow them to play out their role, their part in the “God Scheme” of things?

Wretched truly am I.

When I start working on a puzzle, I usually tackle it the same way every time: edge pieces first, then I look for the most vibrant colors or stand out images in the overall picture, then I look for patterns and long lines, and slowly, my box of remaining pieces becomes more and more monochromatic.

This is how I must look at the Body too. I am easily drawn to the people with clearly defined gifts and abilities, then there are the very talented ones who shine in any group, and then there are the organized ones who work to bring order out of chaos. But the rest become a blur.

In a puzzle, in order to figure out where the same color pieces go, it’s a matter of looking for a tiny, but identifiable mark or a specific shape that will only snug up to its likely friends.

I need to give much more attention to Body who have been indistinguishable. It’s time to honor their individuality by even the smallest gift because everyone has something to give to community. And as each gift comes forward, something beautiful begins to emerge. And soon, it’s not just flat sky, but clouds and mist and rain even. It’s time to look. It’s time to honor the pieces of the whole and give thanks for them.

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