How do we become “one body and one spirit” in Christ? What does it mean to be “living members” of Christ Jesus? Does this mean we continue as Christ in the world? How do we do that? We’re only human or will we be different? Will God give us grace and strength to do his work here?
When I searched the letters by St. Paul, by others in his name, I found texts about what happens and how when the Spirit (of God, of Christ) enter into us, live in us and we become members of Christ’s body.
Romans (12:4-5) “For as one body we have many members . . . . so we who are many are one body in Christ and individually we are members one of another.”
1 Corinthians (12:12,27; 15:45) for just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of that body, though many, are one body and so it is with Christ. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” “The Spirit of Christ, is life giving. We receive the “life giving Spirit” of Christ at baptism.”
Galatians (2:20, 3:27,29); “It is no longer I who live but it is Christ who lives in me.” “As many of you as were baptized have clothed yourselves with Christ . . . . .for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians (4: 1-16) “we must “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
Colossians 2: 6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him . . .”
As I reflected on these texts, I realized and believe we become a different being at baptism. We are infused with Christ’s life-giving Spirit. His Spirit envelopes us as well as lives within us. At baptism, God appoints us to be Christ. We are now who he is, embodied in him and he in us.
Paul speaks of the many members of one body; though many, all are one body in Christ. To me it means we are encompassed in Christ corporately and individually: I am in Christ; we are in Christ. Paul’s reality is that God has taken all sorts of flesh and blood human bodies and knit them together into an organic whole.
I believe we now exist in a different realm: a new reality, a new life in Christ’s body, here where we are; every day, every hour, every moment in time - we are him. To me this way of being in Christ is not metaphorical. It is a reality grounded in our trust and faith in Christ Jesus.
So, what do I, we do now? What exactly am I, are we appointed by God to do being Christ in our world? We each have different gifts and callings. Each of us and all of us are in the body of Christ. We all are infused with the same Spirit. We all are given the same gift of faith through the same baptism. I am, we are called to use our gifts, to respond to God’s appointment as God’s herald spreading the good news of God in Christ; to be Christ individually and in community. We are called to love and serve God, actively building up the body of Christ with intention, with compassion, with love. I, we can only do this with God’s help. I ask for God’s grace to do this every day.