Mystical Body Senses
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4. Mystical Body Senses

Five or So Senses

Human earThe Mystical Body senses enable Christians to rely on Christ as the Head of the Body. Jesus gives sustenance, energy and the knowledge of the world around us through the human senses. The human head contains all the senses. Without sight, hearing, taste, smell or touch we are completely isolated from our surroundings. The Mystical Body senses like the human body tastes with its mouth. It hears through its ears. It sees using its eyes and smells with its nose. Only one of the senses, the sense of touch, is shared with the rest of the body through its largest organ, the skin. The so-called "sixth sense" is considered by many people to be equally important. The human mouth in the head tastes food and drink and inhales air on behalf of the whole frame. The mouth brings in all the nutritional needs for every part of the mystical body as well as invaluable air for our lungs. All our spiritual resources come through the Mystical Body senses.

Connection to the Head

Spinal cord brokenIn other words, as Saint Paul writes in Ephesians 1.23, "Christ fills everything in every way." Christians need to be constantly aware of our senses, listening for and hearing the leading voice of Jesus in our lives. We are spiritually dead until Jesus communicates to and for us. Every Christian depends upon a connectedness to Jesus' Head to live the Christian life. A young woman in a wheelchair commented, "My spinal cord was severed and my brain was disconnected from my body. Sometimes, my arms and legs flailed around without warning and I was out of control! I was a perfect example of a body separated from its head." The twenty-first century Church will rediscover its Christian body senses only from Christ's head. The present church structures need to rediscover the senses from Christ's Head and be obedient to Him. A new model is needed which acknowledges Christ as the head and links together the limbs and bodily parts. That new vehicle is the Body of Christ. It will be successful even in today's indifferent and sometimes hostile secular culture. In the Early Church, when all seemed against the Jesus people, they succeeded spectacularly. We shall also not just get by but conquer gloriously when we rediscover the Mystical Body.

Entirely New Environment

Cracks in the PavementThe Christian church of the Third Millennium, containing the Body of Christ, lives and breathes in an entirely different environment than ever before! Society has gone through many changes in the last several hundred years from an agricultural to an industrial to an informational base. Today's culture is often indifferent and sometimes hostile to the church and the Body of Christ. While technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, human beings in society have become less human, or humane, and more animal-like. John Nesbitt's book "Megatrends" speaks of this epic transformation with the insightfully precise phrase, "the ground has shifted." The Christian church society will need to be more effective in communicating and caring as if Jesus Christ were still here today. Today's Christian Church society is being forced to move to avoid slipping through the cracks in society. Some parts of our Western Christian Church have already disappeared. Loren B Mead the educator, consultant and author of the "The Once and Future Church" wrote, "We are facing a fundamental change in how we understand the mission of the church."

New Future Vision

Group of Christians"Beneath the confusion, we are being stretched between a great vision of the past and a new vision that is not yet fully formed." "Local congregations are now being challenged to move from a passive, responding role in support of the mission to a front-line, active role. The familiar roles of the Christian Church with the laity, clergy, executive, bishop, church council, and denominational bureaucracy are in profound transition all around us." The Christian Church of this Second Millennium is in a tailspin. Weekly church attendance in the traditional church denominations is down to a third of what it was in 1950. Still, eighty-five percent of the population affirm their belief in God and say they are spiritual! Many people think of themselves as Christians without seeing the necessity to be connected to any church. The latest trend according to my Christian doctor is "a la carte church" where each individual chooses how to do their devotions to one of many gods which may include an occasional service at one of many churches.

Christian Belief Belonging

Stained Glass WindowChristian belief and belonging ideally resided within the Church but were increasingly flourishing in faith communities elsewhere. Belief without belonging just does not work. Secular society asserted that "one doesn't have to go to church to be a Christian" but individual Christians could not exist outside the Body of Christ, either as the institutional church or as some other vehicle of faith. They could not be separated for an extended time without losing their spiritual identity. Away from the Body, Christians initially experienced a heightened sense of spirituality, the high of "the unimpeded Jesus in me!" Individual belief without belonging is widely practiced in modern society and is also known as cash and carry Christianity. As the weeks of absence from the faith community passed, these lapsed into mere formality, a sort of belief without belonging, until Christianity had no real impact on life anymore. In fact belief and belonging naturally existed together like a horse and carriage. We all need the weekly glow of fellow believers for our faith to burn brightly. Like the ember that falls from a burning fire, faith and belief quickly grew cold on their own. They did, however, revive into glowing redness when sitting amongst the other coals. As difficult as it may have been sometimes because of the many faults of the institutional church and its leaders, Christians needed to persevere with weekly worship attendance and fellowship.

Empty Church Pews

Empty Church PewsThe phrase "Believing without Belonging" or "Belief without Belonging" was coined by Grace Davie in the 1990s and has been described as akin to "Cash and Carry Christianity" or "Cafeteria Catholicism." In the Protestant wing of the church when members required a baptism, a wedding or a funeral but were not intending to become committed to membership it was called "Cash and Carry Christianity." They came to the church to obtain certain services like infant baptism, confirmation or a wedding but felt no compulsion to stay or become a regular member. It was like going into a supermarket to pick up certain items off the shelves. In the Roman Catholic Church today, many of the faithful themselves practice "Cafeteria Catholicism" and want to decide which regulations like birth control or abortion restrictions to obey and to follow or not to follow. The church may or may not agree with birth control or abortion but the church member does whatever suits them best! It is yet another example of what happens when deluded people say they are "spiritual but not religious."

Cash and Carry Christianity

Individual Rights"Cash and Carry Christianity", involving belief but not belonging, is hindering both the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainline churches. The selfish individualism of our "Me" society has damaged the Christian community. The loss of respect for the corporate church is one of the reasons why our congregations have suffered a steep decline in numbers and influence in society over the last ten years in favor of individual rights. Societal rights have taken a back seat to children's rights, prisoners' rights, gender rights, ethnic rights, same-sex rights, and many others. Other institutions like the police service, school teachers and the legal system are seen as things to be challenged if individuals don't agree with the institutional rules. In many people's minds, they are always right and must have their way no matter what. Within the church, we have also lost touch with our corporate spirituality as the Body of Christ. Our beliefs have become cold and formal and we no longer have the same sense of belonging to a community that previous generations experienced. The individual, not the community group has sadly become the foundational unit of society. Individual freedoms, however, have to join hands with corporate rights in any truly just and fair society to prevent it from breaking down. It is the problem with adopting a concept of being politically correct rather than being Biblically correct.✞

"Mystical Body Senses"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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