The Body of Christ

Guest blogger: Teri Barr

I get to be a “guest blogger” today in Steve’s column so that I can share something so precious to me that God let me not only have “head knowledge” of, but really experience in my recent unexpected hospitalization.

I Corinthians 12:12 – 31 describes the church (not just Westside, but all those who have believed in their hearts that Jesus died for them and rose again, confessed this with their mouths and made Him Lord of their lives…) as one body with many members – working together just like the parts of our bodies work together.  It’s a beautiful picture of the different parts supporting, helping, working in unity – not being jealous of each other that one has a “more desirable” function but each member “belonging” to and needing each other.  I want to share about one aspect – one verse – 26 – it says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Almost 3 weeks ago I was sitting in church with what I suspected were heart attack symptoms.  I did what anyone would do… I Googled heart attack symptoms for women on my iphone while Steve was preaching!  Just to do what I thought was the “wise” thing, I had a friend drive me to a hospital emergency room to check it out.  The ER staff quickly went into the frenzy of emergency mode as I was hooked up to all kinds of machines, had many test, started receiving a variety of medicines by injection and IV, told I was having a heart attack and transported by ambulance to a different hospital and straight into the “cath lab” for an angiogram.  My EKG was “slopey” hills instead of the normal sharp jagged points.  My cardiac enzymes present were at 9, when .3 would show a heart attack was taking place.  I went through all of this in a daze – confused and wondering if this was real.  The cardiologist found that my heart was great!  No damage – arteries all clear – no heart attack!  Praise God!  What on earth had I just been through and why???  I was told that the rate my heart was pumping blood was only 35%, when normal would be 65% and there had been a significant “ballooning” of a portion of my heart causing the heart to think there was a blockage which led to the pain and heart attack symptoms.  Causes?  A weakening of the heart due to stress combined with a brutal cross-country ski trip the day before is what we guess it was.  An overnight stay in the hospital – getting on a heart medication to heal – 2 ½ weeks of doing nothing (now able to add more activity into my schedule), trying to be patient while healing – I’m still a little “shell shocked!”

All that was just to catch you up in case you didn’t know what happened!  The rest of this blog is what I really want to say to you!  I experienced the body of Christ – Westsiders as well as family and friends that I’ve known from all over the country and the world – “suffering” with me as I suffered!  They found out that one body part was suffering and came to my aid – with phone calls, “tweets,” FaceBook messages, cards, flowers, gifts, meals, visits, hugs and tons of love!  You know why?  It’s because I am connected to the body and belong!  You also belong!  Are you connected?  As each body part “functions” together – there is a deep sense of belonging – of being part of and of contributing.   Each of us has a function – a part to play!  Are you playing your part?  Are you “known” to the other parts of the body?  The playing-out of the parts of the body takes place in the local church as we come together, work together, each having something to contribute and each doing what God created them to do!  Hebrews 10:24 & 25 tells us to come together often to encourage and spur each other on toward love and good deeds!  We are Jesus’ body and we need each other!  We need to meet to worship and celebrate our King and hear a Word from God together; we need to meet in small groups and we need to “function,” or serve in some capacity as part of the body of Christ.

At Westside we have just finished a session of small groups.  We start again the week of March 6.  A small group is a place where you can know others and be known – where you can discover your giftings – where you can encourage one another.  It is where you learn to suffer when others suffer and rejoice when others are honored!  We belong to each other!  Get – and stay – connected!  I love you and so appreciate your kindness!

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