Submitted by Jan on Tue, 22/01/2013 – 14:49
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: 1 Corinthians / 1 Korintiers
Chapter: 12
Verse (to): 30

To trained CABSA Churches Channels of Hope facilitators, this is a familiar text. On the walls of the training room, in the CABSA and CARIS offices, where Channels of Hope workshops are presented and in information sessions you will see the CABSA “Guiding Principles” posters displayed. And one of these principles describes our Identity: “We are the body of Christ”. We easily say that the church is the “Body of Christ”, but what does this mean? What does this mean in a world with HIV?

A few years ago a Khayelitsha pastor caused an uproar when he said that Jesus is HIV positive. Why did he say this – Was it out of disrespect or to dishonor Jesus? No, I do not think so! He explained his statement as follows: “In many parts of the Bible, God put himself in the position of the destitute, the sick, the marginalized. When we attend to those who are sick, we are attending to Him. When we ignore people who are sick, we are ignoring Him.”

What do we say when we talk of ourselves as the Body of Christ?
• We say that, as faith community (together), we belong to Christ and as body of Christ we also belong to one another. As body of Christ we are interdependent and co-responsible for each other.
• We say that, like Jesus, we identify with the vulnerable and distressed.
• We say that “stigma, shame, discrimination, denial, mis-action and inaction” divide the Body of Christ and need to be overcome.
• We say that people living with HIV and AIDS, or any other illnesses or problems, are important members of the body of Christ, with gifts and tasks that only they can bring to the rest of the body.
• We say that the needs of vulnerable people and people living with HIV and AIDS should concern the church and should concern all of us.
• We say that as body of Christ we are all affected by HIV.

If we say this, and if we accept that Christians are not immune to HIV, we have to agree with Pastor Skosana and say: “The body of Christ lives with HIV and has AIDS.”

If we look at the image in the CABSA poster, we see that the body is divided, the puzzle pieces are separated. We do this. We divide the body of Christ when we do not accept people living with HIV and allow them to play their rightful role as parts of the body.

To think about: How can you restore the body of Christ in your local community?

Author: van Rooyen L (Ms)
Language: English