1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, NIRV
One Body but Many Parts
12There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves, or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
15Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
27You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. 28First, God has placed apostles in the church. Second, he has placed prophets in the church. Third, he has placed teachers in the church. Then he has given to the church miracles and gifts of healing. He also has given the gift of helping others and the gift of guiding the church. God also has given the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. 29Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? 31But above all, you should want the more important gifts.
Love Is Necessary
But now I will show you the best way of all.
Candy Heart Words: “U & Me”
Have you ever heard this song? (Sing a verse of “Dem Bones,” sometimes called “Dry Bones.”)
“Toe bone connected to the foot bone.
Foot bone connected to the heel bone.
Heel bone connected to the ankle bone.
Ankle bone connected to the shin bone.
Shin bone connected to the knee bone.
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone.
Thigh bone connected to the hip bone.
Hip bone connected to the backbone.
Back bone connected to the shoulder bone.
Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone.
Neck bone connected to the head bone.
Now hear the word of the Lord.”
What do you think is the most important part of your body? (Allow children to answer.) If you had strong muscles but no nerves to send signals to your brain, would you be able to use those strong muscles? (Allow children to answer.) No! If you had good eyes and could see the tiniest thing far away from you, but your eyelids couldn’t stay open, would you be able to see anything? (Allow children to answer.) Nope! If you had a good brain, but your hands or legs didn’t do what your brain told them to do, would your brain do you any good? (Allow children to answer.) No way! Every part of the body is important. It is very important for all the parts of the body to work together to do the things that you need to do.
The people in this church are the body of Christ. (Point out a few of them; include the pastor and key leaders, and point out those who aren’t in the room, while saying,) She is the body of Christ, you are part of Christ’s body, they are part of Christ’s body. All of us do the work of Jesus here on Earth. Just as the human body has many important parts that are connected to one another and need to work together, the church has many members who are good at doing different things. These gifts are uniquely given to each person by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gifts the church to have abilities to make up one body. Each person has gifts to contribute. Therefore, each church has what it needs. It wouldn’t make sense if all of us were Sunday school teachers. It wouldn’t make sense if all of us were ushers during worship services. It wouldn’t make sense if all of us were leading worship, and no one was participating in worship.
I wonder if you think you are a very important part of the body of Christ. (Allow children to answer.) We need you in our church. Your part of the body is very important. What are some important things that you do for Jesus? (Allow children to answer.) How might we allow the Holy Spirit to use us? (Allow children to respond.) [Perhaps, creatively string the answers together like the song: Showing kindness is connected to smiling, telling others about Jesus is connected to helping one another. singing hymns is connected to obeying our parents and teachers, etc.]
All people, no matter their age or role, are important to the whole body of Christ. The way one person feels can affect the whole body of Christ. If you break your smallest toe, you may not be able to walk for a while. That toe is so small, but if it is hurt, it affects your whole body. If one of the members of our church is sad or hurting, it matters to all of us. That’s why we pray for one another and meet to worship and encourage one another. All of us make up the body of Christ, and we need to remember how much each of us mean to all of us.
Today’s candy heart says, “U & Me.” Before you leave church today, make sure you talk to another part of this body of Christ and see how that person is feeling. Offer to pray for that person throughout the week. I wonder what other parts of the body of Christ you will talk to.
I wonder if you will find someone who is a different part of the body than you are.
I wonder how important you feel with the work that you do for this body of Christ.
Each week for our prayer, instead of praying hands, we will shape our hands like hearts to remind us of love. Can you place your hands in this position? (Position your hands like this:)
Prayer: God of love, we are all your children, and each of us has important work to do for you to show the world how we make the body of Jesus. Help us to remember how important we are. Help us to love one another and to work together with one another. Amen.