Something has been happening to me as a Christian leader in the last fourteen years that has been intriguing to me. In early 2002 my wife and I began to host “Gatherings” in our home roughly twice a month. We call them “Gatherings” this is a more appropriate rendering of the Greek word “ekklesia” (translated “church” in the Bible) than what we typically consider “church” to be.
It simply means “a calling out, a popular meeting” or, in the context of Christianity, “a Gathering of believers”. What happens at these meetings often seems to look a lot like what the Bible shows the church to have looked like in the first century.
“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)
As I have learned more about the body of Christ I have noticed something at our Gatherings and at others in which the Gathering is a safe place and where the Holy Spirit is free to lead the meeting with as few encumbrances as possible. I refer to the thing I notice as the “Song of the Body of Christ.”
During these meetings, as people mill around talking, becoming more familiar, enjoying the Lord and one another the noise level seems to rise. As it does, my ability to pick out individual voices, sounds and words drops. At first, this was confusing and frustrating for me because I wanted to hear everything! But then the Lord had me sit back and just hear the sound that He was pointing out to me.
“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.” (Psalm 149:1)
Sometimes this song…the Song of the Body of Christ…will bring me to tears. As people who were formerly separate share themselves in such an intimate setting the song they sing literally speaks of peace.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:13-17)
Then Paul goes on to say that Jesus is the chief cornerstone, the basis for this body,
“in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (v.21)
When I quietly listen this is what I hear: the body of Christ celebrating being a body. God chose that term to describe His church – using the image of a physical body to teach us how we were to see ourselves in Christ and interact with one another.
“we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Romans 12:5)
Consider your own human body. Did you ever stop to think that it cannot do anything without the entire body communicating with itself? In order to walk countless cells, muscles, nerves, sinews, joints and body parts as groups of these must whisper commands, feedback and information to one another.
Imagine what that would sound like if every one of those parts of your body actually had a voice you could hear. Can you imagine the sound? With all those parts whispering at the same time, it would be hard to pick out individual voices. It would be a mishmash of quiet noises but there would be order.
When all goes well, all the parts of the human body work in cooperation with one another to do the will of the head of the body. The brain sends out a command in obedience to the human soul and all the other parts work as a team to accomplish the will of the head. In Colossians 1:18 we see that Christ “is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”
So, I often find myself at a Gathering listening to the Song of the Body of Christ. As I do, it brings me joy as I see Christ’s body, functioning in harmony…..all the parts working together to accomplish His will for that meeting.
Once, I attended a series of meetings in Weatherford, Texas. The body of Christ was Gathering there. The last night was a praise Gathering and the people came, primed to be obedient to the Lord in worship, in sharing what He was doing in them and in simply being His body.
As I walked through the door I heard it: the Song of the Body of Christ and I quietly stepped to the side and leaned against a wall with my eyes closed – drinking it in. It is so refreshing to listen to the sound of Jesus working in and through His body to heal, restore, grow, establish, sanctify and celebrate His kingdom.
The thing about this song is that you never hear it in places where the Body of Christ is made to sit down and shut up. You only hear it when people are free to interact unrestricted by man’s idea of what order looks like. God’s order often seems chaotic at first glance…like the Song of the Body of Christ seemed to me when I first saw it. However, as we submit to the Lord in all things His ways begin to become a part of us.
Last night I watched a friends face as he drank in this song. It was refreshed him as we listened to 7 or 8 “Gatherings” within the one Gathering that we had called for the night. We were listening to God flow among a number of people Gathered together in the name of Jesus and free to practice that.
Jesus speaking: “….where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 10:20)
I encourage you to listen for the Song of the Body of Christ – Jesus flowing freely though His body. Allow it to wash over you and be your refreshing. Then, go be a part of the song.
“What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)