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The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, January 7, 2023, was written by Ruth Sri Ningsih of East Java, Indonesia

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.

15 If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 NRSV


When my husband invited me to go shopping for building materials at a hardware store, I saw the many different types of materials used to make buildings. I realized how many materials are required to build a house, including sand, cement, bricks, nails, tile, and wall paint, to name just a few. Indeed, the materials we bought do not look like they will form a building. But in the hands of skilled builders, the raw materials will come together to form a beautiful house.

Likewise, it seems that as Christians our purpose may be difficult to determine alone. But if we join with other Christians in community, our purpose becomes clearer. Christians need one another. Some lead worship, some play music, some share God’s word, and so on. This wonderful unity strengthens us. It is beautiful when Christians build each other up and work together to serve God.


We are not the same, nor have we been created to be the same. God has gifted us with unique differences in order that we may bear witness to the unity and harmony that can be experienced within a community of faith. Too often we allow our personal preferences, routines, and customs to interfere with genuinely pursing harmony within our communities of faith. Healthy growing churches bring people, with various preferences, together under one roof in pursuit of the common purpose of sharing Christ’s love with others. Ruth’s reflection reminds us, that although we have different preferences and gifts, God is the skillful builder who brings us together to create an authentic, transformational, and inspiring community of faith.

--Pastor Anthony


-- Ruth Sri Ningsih


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