Message from the chaplain - 22 September 2017

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ

13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free —and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.

15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.

17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?

20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body.

- 1 Corinthians 12:12-20

When Heritage Day was first instituted as a public holiday in South Africa in 1996, then president, Nelson Mandela, said: “When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”. Thus, on Heritage Day, we celebrate in unity that we are a diverse people as expressed in our dierent cultures, traditions and languages.

Paul, apostle of Christ, used the imagery of the followers of Christ as the “Body of Christ” – described in 1 Corinthians 12:12-20 above. In Paul’s depiction of the Body of Christ we can see that each part has an identity of its own and is of equal worth; no part loses its identity to become part of the body; and no part can claim to be the body. Each part is celebrated for its unique value; yet the body too is celebrated as a whole. 

As St Mary’s School, we are a part of the Body of Christ. While this is our identity in Christ, it can never reduce us to same-ness but must always be a celebration of our diversity and uniqueness in Christ. To be the Body of Christ is to be united by the one Spirit of God – a loving, creative and diverse power that seeks to unite us in union with the true God.

This Sunday, 24 September, I wish you a blessed Heritage Day.

Revd Claudia Coustas