Mystical Body Senses
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4. Mystical Body Senses

Five Senses

Human earThe The human senses give sustenance, energy, and knowledge of the world around us through Jesus. The human head contains most senses. Without sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch, we are completely isolated. We can survive without hearing or sight for example but that makes everything difficult. The Mystical Body is like the human body in that its spiritual mouth tastes, its ears hear, its eyes see, and its nose smells. The other body parts share touch through our skin, its largest organ. The head's mouth tastes food, eats and drinks, and inhales air on the frame's behalf. The mouth brings in all the nutritional needs for the whole mystical body and invaluable breath for our lungs. It is also the gateway for nasty viruses entering the body like the Covid-19! All our spiritual resources come through the Mystical Body senses.

Sixth Sense

Broken Spinal CordThe so-called "sixth sense" though not definitive like the others is considered by many people to be equally important. 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 Jesus' leading voice in our lives. We are spiritually dead until Jesus communicates to and for us filling us in every way. Every Christian depends upon Jesus' connecting head to live the Christian life. A young woman in a wheelchair commented, "My spinal cord is severed, and my brain disconnected from my body. Sometimes, my arms and legs flail around without warning, and I am out of control! I am 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 feelings from Christ's head and be obedient to him. We require a new model, which acknowledges Christ's headship and links together the limbs and bodily parts. The new vehicle is "Christ's Body" which will be successful in today's indifferent and sometimes hostile secular culture. When all seemed against Jesus' people in the Early Church, they still succeeded spectacularly. When we rediscover the mystical body, we will not just survive but gloriously conquer.

Entirely New Environment

Pavement CracksThe Third Millennium's Christian church, containing Christ's Body, lives and breathes in an entirely different environment than ever before! Society has seen many changes in the last several hundred years, moving from an agricultural to an industrial to an informational base. Today's culture is often indifferent and sometimes hostile to the church and Christ's Body. With technology's advance, people have become less human, humane, and considerate. John Naisbitt's (1929-present) book "Megatrends" speaks of this epic transformation with the insightfully precise phrase, "the ground has shifted." In this shift, the Christian church must become a more effective caring community as if Jesus Christ himself were here today. The question, "what would Jesus do if he were here now?" comes to mind. Today's Christian church has to move to avoid slipping through society's cracks. Some western Christian churches have already disappeared. Loren B Mead, (1930-2018) the educator and author of "The Once and Future Church," wrote, "We are facing a fundamental change in how we understand the church's mission."

New Future Vision

Christian GroupLorne B Mead continues, "We are being stretched between a great past vision and a not yet fully formed new vision." "Local congregations are now being challenged to move from a passive, responding role in mission support to a front-line, active role. The Christian church's familiar laity, clergy, executive, bishop, church council, and denominational bureaucracy are in profound transition." The second millennium Christian church is in a tailspin. Traditional church denomination weekly church attendance 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. According to my Christian doctor, the latest trend is "a la carte church." Each individual chooses how to do their devotions to one of many gods, including an occasional church service!

Christian Belief Belonging

Stained Glass WindowChristian belief and belonging resided within the church but were increasingly flourishing in faith communities elsewhere. Religion without belonging does not work. Secular society asserted that "one doesn't have to go to church to be a Christian." Still, individual Christians could not exist outside the Body of Christ, either as the institutional church or another faith vehicle. They could not separate 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. Spirituality and belonging exist naturally together like a horse and carriage. We all need the weekly glow of fellow believers for our faith to burn brightly. Yet, like the ember that falls from the burning fire, faith and belief quickly grow cold. They do, however, revive into glowing redness when sitting amongst the other coals. As difficult as it may be, sometimes, Christians need to persevere with weekly worship attendance and fellowship despite the many faults of the institutional church and its leaders.

Empty Church Pews

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! 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, hinders 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 reason 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. If individuals disagree with the institutional rules, they challenge other institutions like the police service, school teachers, and the legal system. 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. However, Individual freedoms have to join hands with corporate rights in any genuinely just and fair society to prevent it from breaking down. It is a problem with adopting the concept of being politically correct rather than being Biblically accurate.✞

"Mystical Body Senses"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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