World War II was over. Animosity was beginning to subside. In an effort toward reconciliation some German students volunteered to help rebuild a cathedral in England, one of the many bombing casualties of the Luftwaffe, the German air force. The cathedral was home to a large statue of Jesus, His arms outstretched. Inscribed on the statue were Jesus’ familiar words, “Come unto me.” The figure was badly damaged. Careful work could restore its beauty, but it could not refurbish the statue’s hands. They were missing; amputated by bomb fragments.
The restoration team faced a decision: begin the delicate task of reshaping those hands or leave the statue without hands? A debate ensued and then a decision was reached. The statue of Jesus was left without hands. The inscription now reads, “Christ has no hands but ours.”
The Apostle Paul communicated that same message to a befuddled group of believers living in Corinth, Greece. The church was incredibly gifted and they knew it. People began to take on an attitude of superiority. Paul knew pride was infectious. Left unchecked it would spread like gangrene, endangering the life of the body. Listen to his admonition:
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. . . . Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. If the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? . . . Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-16, 27)
Paul’s message? Christ has no hands but ours! Strange as it may seem we are Christ’s body: his gentle touch, his soft words of comfort, and his strong arms of support. We are his tender eyes of compassion and his reassuring voice. We are his body. What a privilege; what a responsibility!
FOCAL POINT: As you meet with the church this weekend and shake hands with friends, let each handshake remind you that this person too is a part of the body of Christ. Offer up a silent prayer of thanks for this member of the body, and then affirm the person for his or her vital role as Christ’s hands.
Copyright © 2009 Tommy Kiedis