Mystical Body Christ
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Mystical Body Christ
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Early Church Model

The UniverseThe church struggles to find its place in a new age. It casts around looking for a working model to enable it not just to survive but to grow gracefully. Rather than tinkering with the mechanics of the institutional church, we might better look at the Early Church model of the Mystical Body of Christ. This is based on 1 Corinthians 12.27 where Saint Paul writes, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." The Christian theologian and Church Father Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) in the early third century who was influenced by classical Greek philosophy and literature spoke of "the spiritual Body which is the holy Church." The French theologian William of Auxerre (1145-1231 AD) was the first to distinguish "the natural Body of Christ" and "the Mystical and gratuitous Body of Christ," where the word "gratuitous" or "free of charge" refers to the grace of God. The mystical body of Christ is vital and relevant for Christians today.

Many Emanations

Mechanical EngineThere are about twenty references to the "Body of Christ" in the New Testament. For example, Saint Paul writes in Romans 7.4, "So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God." Belonging to the Body of Christ is a way of producing spiritual fruit for God. Referring to the Holy Communion 1 Corinthians 10.16 reads, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?" And the negative side of this in 1 Corinthians 11.29 is, "For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves."

Mystical Reality

This mystical reality therefore propels small groups, institutions and even denominations toward the great vision of the universal, global and Heavenly Body of Christ. In the words of Ephesians 4.12, "to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up." It quietly energizes today's leadership, clergy, lay leaders and ordinary Christian men and women. In the Mystical Body of Christ, we rediscover a vision of a church that is no longer encumbered with buildings, she is set free to be God's hands and feet in the world.

Hungry for God

Early Church ModelDavid Watson (1933-1984 AD) the British evangelist and author wrote, "Two thousand years ago, it was the person of Christ that was compellingly attractive, not the individual disciples with all their individual blemishes. Today, it is the Body of Christ, when deeply united in love, and not individual Christians, that can most of all make one hungry for God."

"Mystical Body Christ"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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