An acquaintance of Michelle and mine recently had a terrible accident at his work. He is a contractor and was operating a cement mixer, got his hands caught in there, and the machine did serious damage to both hands. One hand was far worse than the other, and for that hand surgeons are attempting a unique treatment. They will make an incision in his abdomen, place his damaged hand inside the opening, and then sew it shut. His wounded hand will remain inside his abdomen for three weeks, because they have found that the healing power of the body is far more effective when the wounded part is surrounded by and nourished by the life-giving flesh inside his body. That is not only fascinating medically, but is a powerful symbolic image for how you and I can act once this election is over.
In the previous post, I mentioned that no matter who wins the presidential election, let us remember that Jesus Christ is our King. And, we are a part of the Body of Christ.
What does that mean, “The body of Christ?” That is a very Christian-ese phrase. “Church, we are the body of Christ.” Christians often refer to church as “The Body.” But what does it mean? Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:12. This is the primary passage that explains why we Christians are called the body of Christ.
The guy who wrote this was one of the first Christian leaders, a guy named Paul. He was writing in the early years when the church was only 20-30 years, and still very much figuring out how to be the church. Paul writes, “12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
Do you see the incredible importance of this? We, Christians, you and I, my church family and your church family, along with all other Christians in the world, are the physical manifestation of Jesus in the world. His Spirit resides in us, which you can read about a few chapters earlier in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, where Paul writes that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit lives in us. So, you and I, and all Christians everywhere, are living breathing temples of the Spirit, that together form the body of Christ in the world. Each and every one of us, therefore, is vastly important.
Whether you vote red or blue or third party is far less consequential than the fact that you are a part of the body of the Christ. We Christians, together, are an “us”, we are a unit, the body of Christ. So how should we treat one another? From conversations I’ve had with my own church family, from what I have seen online, it is clear that there are a variety of deeply-held feelings among Christians about the election. In one body of Christ we have differing opinions about this major American event, so how do we treat one another when we have so many differences?
Jump ahead to 1 Corinthians 12:21-26.
“21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
You may find it unfathomable how people in your church family can vote for the other party. You may think they are deceived; that they are dead wrong. You may feel bothered by what they post on social media. You may feel like you would rather avoid them. But if one part suffers, every part suffers. Once that election result is finalized, there will be wounded people in your church body!
Will you allow yourself to be cut open so the wounded part of the body can heal? How do we do that? We unclench our fists. We open wide our arms. And we embrace the wounded. If one of us is suffering because the result of the election disappoints us, we all suffer with that person.
But what if you are the wounded one? What if it is your side that lost? That will be very hard to take. Work hard to practice what the other body-life principle: “if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” That doesn’t mean you all of a sudden have to agree with the ideas of the other party. But it does mean that in the church family you learn to “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” Even if you think, as the losing side most likely will, that the next four years are going to be horrible, what will it look like for you to be the body of Christ and not let your loss cause you to become bitter? In his wonderful book, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes, “One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into…disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’.” It is so easy to be a sore-loser. Pope Francis is right to warn us about this, because we Christians, while we can have a proper disappointment if the presidential candidate we voted for lost, we should NOT be stuck because of that. We carry with us the victory of Jesus, the one true king, and we rejoice in him. Our hope is not in any presidential candidate.
 Evangelii Gaudium, page 69