If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?As it is, there are many members yet one body.
Here is the consequence of all that we have discussed so far. If instead of accepting the diversity of humankind, made all the more unique by the presence of the Holy Spirit, we choose to rank certain gifts higher than others, we risk becoming a monster instead of a body. Imagine the horror of a church that panders only to young families or values only one kind of worship or reveres a pastor to the point of idolatry. That is not the description of a healthy body; it’s a creature made only of fingers or an eyeless, mouthless, phantom. Paul focuses on the sensory members of the body to emphasize that we lose wisdom and a full understanding of the world when our congregations are homogenous. It’s like the old story of the six blind men feeling different parts of the elephant. Our limited perspective places God in a box where he doesn’t fit: He becomes a god who wants us to be comfortable and safe and looks an awful lot like us and shares our opinions about everything and wouldn’t associate with those types of people over there. We might as well chop off our feet for not looking enough like our hands! Think also of the metaphor Paul uses when he describes Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) He delights in her loveliness, and despairs in her fallen state. Like any good groom, he finds all of her beautiful. Why then should we be so vicious in our own self-mutilation?