Nancy has a non-displaced fracture of the tibia plateau. It means that there’s about an inch-long crack in the long lower leg bone, right behind the kneecap. It means that she can’t put weight on her left leg for about 6 weeks. It means that almost everything that she could do without thinking one minute, she had to start thinking carefully about the next.
How to move around the room. How to work and sleep. How to move from the lower level of our house where there is a bathroom without a shower up two half flights of stairs to the bathroom with a shower.
And her elbow is furious. Her elbow is aware that because of that crack in her knee, she is using crutches. Because of the crutches, her elbow was aching the other day. And her elbow considered holding a vote to have the knee removed from the body.
But her elbow was listening while her eyes were reading and her brain was processing these words of Paul. “When one part suffers the whole body suffers.”
And her elbow paused before quitting or calling for the vote.
The fractured tibia part of the story is true. So is the elbow pain. But the idea of the elbow thinking sounds a little odd. Because the elbow isn’t the part of the body that weighs those kinds of decisions. It’s the head.
If our head is telling us that we are too tired to keep moving we will stop.
If our head reminds us that the next three steps will get us to the chair, we can often keep going.
If our head tells our elbow that the pain is not resolved by eliminating the knee, which would cause further problems, but may be relieved by acetaminophen and resting for awhile and stretching, then the elbow MAY stop complaining.
If our head reminds the shoulders and the back and the wrists about good form, the strain the elbow was bearing by be relieved. And if the mind directs the whole body to rest, so that the whole body is cared for, the elbow will not hurt as much, the knee will heal faster.
Which is why Paul uses the image of the body to talk about the church, the body of Christ. We understand it from the inside every day.