Church as Body
Air traffic control is a service which promotes the safe and fast movement of aircraft operating in the air or on an airport surface by providing rules, procedures, and information and advisory services for pilots. The people giving this service are called air traffic controllers. In a few words they coordinate all airplane travel. Between the pilots and these controllers there is constant communication. Although, these controllers are viewing the skies on a monitor with radar data, they have a view the pilot does not have. So, the pilots depend on the information the controllers give them. And, the controller uses the information the pilot gives them about the aircraft to give back accurate information. The pilot typically will submit to the instructions of these controllers.
Our bodies work in a similar way. Our body parts are not flying, but in order to work effectively they are coordinated from the brain. Yes, the body parts are pretty much interconnected in many ways. But, in the end it is the brain that instructs whether a part will move or rest, work or stop working. There is constant communication between our body parts and our brain. The brain receives status reports from our body and based on these reports the brain decides how to proceed and instruct the body how to proceed. The body parts work together because of the brain.
This is something to consider when we use Paul's metaphor of the church as a body. Paul uses this metaphor a few times; among other places in Romans 12: 4 – 5; 1 Corinthians 10: 16 -17, 12: 12 -27; Ephesians 1: 20 – 23, 4 :4 -12 – 16, 5:30; Colossians 3:15. He says that just as the physical body has many members working together for the sake of the body so does the church have many members working together for the sake of the church.
In Ephesians, Paul ties the body to the head(where the brain is),
Eph5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ,
Notice what Paul says: the head is Christ and the body is the church. In verse 24 Paul adds that the church (the body) is subject unto the Christ (the head). In Colossians, Paul repeats that Christ is the head of the body (Colossians 1: 18). Paul adds in Colossians 2:19 that it is the Head "from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God". Paul seemed to know approximately 2000 years ago what anatomy and physiology have revealed. Paul also knew that since God's law is written in His creation, he, Paul, could use the functioning of our body as a metaphor to teach us how God works.
Why is there no unity or oneness among the members (leaders and laity included) of our Church? It is because they are not subjected to the Head, Christ. Why is there an increase on apathy? The members are not subjected to the head, Christ. Why is there a decrease in membership and giving? The members are not subjected to the Head, Christ.
When Christ is truly the Head the body will perform as He says. When Christ is the Head of the church, its members will not have their own prerogative and priorities, they will have Christ's. For the group in the upper chamber on the day of Pentecost Christ was the Head (Acts 2). Christ today is waiting for us, the members, to make Him the Head of our body.