The "Rose, Blood and Tears" poem by Joseph Mary Plunkett (1887-1916), who was one of the Easter Rising Irish Republican leaders in 1916, expresses a deep sentiment borne out by the blood and tears of the struggle.
"I see his blood upon the rose,
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree."
A guest in A B Simpson's (1843-1919) home, the Canadian founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, arose early one morning and wandered down the hall. Through a crack in the study door, he observed Simpson alone at his desk with his arms hugging a globe of the world. Tears ran down his cheeks as he wept for a world lost in sin.✞
At the Temptation, the prize was the world. The devil realized that this contest's outcome at the beginning of Jesus' ministry would affect not only his ministry but the whole Cosmos. His death on the cross would equally touch the entire creation. Jesus would bring a reign of peace into people's hearts and lives.✞
As new churches open every week, new congregations formed, and individuals are giving their lives to Christ, so the world Christian Body is developing. Just as the Body of Christ unites all Christians, the World Christian body supports everyone and encourages the weak. During the last three centuries, the North American and European churches have sent thousands of missionaries to Africa, South America, and other nations to bring the Good News to the world's people. This trend has reversed as new third world churches are growing stronger. They are dispatching emissaries to a declining western church. Congregations in the Southern hemisphere are developing while others in the Northern hemisphere are shrinking.✞
The Most Reverend Mannases Kuria (1929-2005) Archbishop of Kenya was once asked, "Is it true that there is a new church opening every day on the continent of Africa?" He replied, "I can only speak for my Archdiocese. There is one new Anglican congregation developing every week." On the official photograph at the Lambeth Conference in 1988of bishops from all around the world, there were more black faces than white. Roles are now changing as one national church supports another, and one part of the World Christian body builds up another. In what ways can my fellow Christians in other parts of the world help me, and how can I help them? Jesus' World view means belonging as brothers and sisters to the mystical Body of Christ around the world. The groups we associate with condition our intolerance. No one is entirely free from favoritism. In the words of Saint Augustine, also known as Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) from North Africa, pride becomes "a perverse desire of height." Many of us are very often just like Professor Higgins in the musical "My Fair Lady." He asks, "Why can't they behave like us?" Worldwide Christian kinship should not allow any racial tensions nor any bigotry between poor or rich, black or white, heterosexual, lesbian or gay even feminist or male chauvinist! We all fall under the Word of God, and the Scriptures divinely direct us.✞
Saint Paul had a vision for Worldwide kinship. He didn't sit on his hands but traveled over three thousand miles along dusty roads and across dangerous seas to bring the Jesus world view to Rome, Crete, Cyprus, Galatia, Corinth, and many other places. After the Resurrection, the other Apostles likewise spread out in every direction to Africa, India, Asia, and across Europe. Even though a Muslim invasion in 629 AD wiped out the Jerusalem church, the mission of Christ not only continues but flourishes! The staggering lesson here for our proud Western churches is that no denomination is indispensable! If the founding congregation in Jerusalem, where Jesus spent virtually all his time, could be utterly destroyed, then why should we believe we were any different if we stray from the truth?✞
The Christian cultural body varies from Sari Indian women to Messianic Jews according to their local culture. The Christian cultural body draws together all nations, races, cultures, and every language group. Rebecca Manley Pippert (1949-Present) writes of this body across cultures, "What a tonic to my student doubts it has been to see Christ manifested in cultures vastly different from my own! To watch Thai believers witness to illiterate villagers through the dramatization of the Prodigal Son story."✞
"To listen to a beautifully Sari Indian woman, a member of a Hindu family, speak of what it cost her to love Jesus. Or to hear Messianic Jews in Israel sing in Hebrew their love for the Messiah. All of us from cultures so varied and different have bowed our knees to Jesus' name, which is the only name in Heaven and Earth that can save." One might also add, "the only name in heaven and earth that can unite people from different cultures." ✞
A color on a canvas can be beautiful in itself. However, the artist excels typically not by lathering one pigment across the painting but by positioning it between contrasting or complementary hues. The original tone then derives richness and depth from its sea of contrasting tints and shades. The eminent surgeon, Doctor Paul Brand (1914-2003), explains, "The basis for our unity within Christ's Body begins not with our similarity but with our diversity." In other words, all are beautiful.✞
Christ's World body is the community of Christian people around the Globe. Its variety and differences make every nation beautiful. The words, "Our Father, who art in heaven," makes all people kin. Saint Paul tells the Roman Christians in Romans 8.15-16, "By him, we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Christ's World Body is the great ministry model for the New Testament church and God's choice for ours at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. When rediscovered, this model will bind together what we call "the Church" into a focused body across the Globe.✞
The children of God in the Body of Christ stretch across all nations. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and communications, Christians of different races can now know what one another is doing, feeling, and thinking. Christ's world body genuinely unites as one. Saint Luke writes in Acts 17.26, "From one man, he (God) made every nation of people that they should inhabit the whole earth." Yellow, red, pink, white, brown, and black all stand on a par in God's created order. Their common faith premise springs out of the Mystical Body, evoking unity and gratitude. Black is beautiful, brown and white are beautiful, pink is beautiful, red and yellow are beautiful. All are beautiful. All nations are beautiful.✞
There is no color ethnic prejudice allowed in the worldwide mystical body. Because of discrimination for color or ethnicity or faith in Jesus, many Christian martyrs died. While the words, "Our Father, who art in heaven," make the whole world kin, the concept of the brotherhood of man is still a crock! Human beings are not allies to one another but enemies full of color and ethnic prejudices. There have been more wars and more Christian martyrs since 1900 with its brotherhood of man than in all the centuries since Christ!✞
The reason all nations become one global family in the Mystical Body is that, in the words of John 3.16, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son." Saint Paul points out in Colossians 3.11 that, "Here, there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all!"✞
There can be no racial or ethnic prejudice in the global Body of Christ. In the book "Christian Ethics," we read, "Human sin takes the form of pride. Those of one skin color or ethnic background take that difference as the measure of worth." To put the matter theologically, some worship the created order rather than the Creator. Taking my height, color, or ethnic difference as the standard of value in itself becomes the root of prejudice. A person of another color is then not only different but worse. For them, "White is beautiful" means "Black is not beautiful." But in the Body of Christ, all are beautiful!✞