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The body beautiful

To compare the human body with the body of Christ.

by Charlotte Benstead

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To compare the human body with the body of Christ.

Preparation and materials

  • Ask some students to read the facts about the body.

Assembly

  1. Begin by telling your audience that they are amazing, really amazing … well, their body is anyway.
  2. Ask your readers to read out the following facts:

    - The body is composed of 70 trillion cells. That's 70 million million cells! 80% of your body is water.
    - You breathe enough air throughout your lifetime to fill 10 million balloons.
    - The heart pumps 5 litres of blood through the body at any one time. An average heart beats over 100,000 times a day.
    - There are about 62,000 miles of blood vessels in the body. That's equivalent to 2.5 times around the world.
    - You consume 30 tons of food throughout your life.
    - The body's bacteria could fill a soup can.
    - The average head has 100,000 hairs, each living for about 2 to 4 years.
    - Under normal conditions, during strenuous exercise you can secrete 2 pints of sweat per hour.
    - You secrete 17 gallons of tears throughout your lifetime.
  3. Comment that the human body is a marvellous work of God’s creation. Every time you raise a finger or take a step, an infinite number of cells and nerves interact to produce such seemingly simple movements.
  4. In the New Testament (1 Corinthians 12.12-27) St Paul likens the Church to the human body:

    The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, 'I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body.' Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, 'I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body.' Would the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.

    A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. God put our bodies togther in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the other. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy.
  5. Just as each of your individual cells contributes to the whole body, each of you must play your part to ensure that each community you belong to (family, school, local neighbourhood) works in the best way possible. Without the cooperation and joint effort of our brains, bones and muscles, we cannot move – without your cooperation with your fellow humans the world would be similarly paralysed.

Time for reflection

Reflection:
Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet, on earth but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which he looks

Compassion on this world.

Yours are the feet

With which he walks to do good.

Yours are the hands

With which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet.

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours.

Yours are the eyes, through which he looks

Compassion on the world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

(St Teresa)


Prayer:
Dear God,

Bless our hands, that we touch what is good.

Bless our feet, that we may walk in your path.

Bless our eyes, that we may look with compassion.

Bless our ears, that we may heed those in need.

Bless our mouths, that we may speak words of comfort.

Make each of our bodies a vital element of the body of Christ.

Amen.

Hymn

‘Breathe on me' (Mission Praise, 25)

Publication date: February 2005   (Vol.7 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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