I Ain’t Got No body
The eerie swell of the organ playing in that ghostly minor key filled the small darkened bedroom as we huddled closer together, waiting for our favorite program. It was Saturday night and Radio Mystery Hall was on the air.
All of our Saturday duties were accomplished by this time of night, including supper and our weekly bath in front of the kitchen wood stove in the good old #3 wash tub.
Tomorrow was Sunday, but that would come soon enough, and we knew for sure that we wouldn’t be late or get lost on the way to Sunday and church because our “pastors parsonage9′ was attached to the back of the small country church. There would be a Sunday School class in the front room, and also one in the kitchen; the same place I had taken my bath the night before.
But that would all take care of itself tomorrow because tonight is Saturday–time for our Saturday night radio programs. The “Green Hornet”, “The Shadow” and “The Thin Man” had already been on and what an exciting night it had been so far. Our minds were filled with so many pictures of what we were listening to it was hard to contain them all.
Now the last one before we went to sleep was “The Mystery Theater”–the organ swelled and we clutched tighter to one another, a small knot of pajama clad “preacher’s kids” waiting to be scared out of their minds.
“Tonight on this weeks’ presentation of ‘Radio Mystery Theater”‘, the voice was deep and foreboding, “We are bringing you a story entitled, ‘The hand is quicker than the eye’. It’s a tale ofa hand that had a mind of it’s own.”
After the commercial for everybody’s favorite soap was over, we launched into the story of “old rich Mr. Edwards” who lived alone in the old decaying mansion on the hill.
It seemed that he had a hand that kept trying to kill him, and in spite of all his fruitless efforts to restrain it, including lashing it tightly to the bedpost at night, this hand that had a mind of its own finally succeeded.
Well, the story continues and actually gets much scarier. It seems that when they went to bury “old rich Mr. Edwards” his hand was missing and was off somewhere in the city at that moment terrorizing someone.
Of course, I didn’t think of it then, as I lay there shivering in fear, hoping that that rogue hand wouldn’t grab my foot in the middle of the night.
But since then I have thought of what Paul has to say about body parts that say they have no need for the other body parts, and what happens to them if they take off on their own. (I Cor. 12:21) When we look at God’s church as Paul does, as parts of a body fitted and functioning together in unity, harmony and strength. Then we can get the idea, looking at the church that it’s not all that uncommon for a hand or foot to “do its own thing”–including choking the life out of the throat–which just happens to be a part of the same body.
I’m reminded of the old joke (which isn’t a joke) of a head floating down the river singing, “I Ain’t Got No Body”, when I encounter some young eager Christian who doesn’t’ understand yet that he’s not the only member in the body, nor is he the most important.
Winning the world single-handed is not a biblical term. Neither is it lawful in the kingdom of God to accomplish your ministry over the bruised and broken bodies of the other members of God’s church.
No wonder Paul instructed the church in Ephesus to “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” (Eph. 4:32)
He knew by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, what we are now learning, that we as believers cannot survive and grow alone. We must be attached to the body of Christ, and even though we are members individually, we only function completely as we join and relate one to another (I Cor. 12:27)
The great lie that continues to be sold to multiplied Christians around the world is that all you need to be is sincere, own a Bible, and follow the Spirit.
Beside the fact that this whole idea of the “bodiless Christian” is scripturally illegal, and the fact that the percentage of any kind of spiritual success for these individuals is very small, it just plain frightens me to think of life without the body of Christ around me–helping my weaknesses and encouraging my strengths.
My heart agrees with Paul as he writes of his thanksgiving for those who have supported him in love, prayers and even physical blessings! (Rom. 1:9; Eph. 1:16; Phm. 1:4)
We need each other more today than we ever have before. The real power of the gospel is not in some glorious gift that explodes for a moment like some shooting star, but rather it is in the ever increasing bonding and blending of the body of Christ as we join our lives together to we fulfill the purposes of God on earth.
By the way, they never did find that hand. I guess it’s out there still terrorizing some city—like some lone Christians I know.
Keep your hands in the boat