“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12)
This is why the Holy Spirit gave divers (many different) gifts; making some apostles and some prophets, and some evangelists and pastors and teachers: it is ‘for the perfecting of the saints’, the Christian faithful. As honor and ministry are apportioned within a household, there being one honor and ministry of parents, another of grown sons and daughters, a third of young children and servants, yet all ministering to the needs of one another, so it is in God’s house, the Church of God. A responsibility is linked with every honor, and the responsibility of each is of help to all. Thus gradually and quietly is the Body of Christ, God’s holy Church, built up. Each of the faithful, helped by the others, grows and develops as a member of that body, grows in holiness and purity and in the measure and proportion of his responsibility towards the whole great body. The whole body, from the beginning to the end of time and especially from the time of the Incarnation of God the Word on earth to the Dreadful Judgement, is the holy Church of God. The body is worthy of immortality; the building is worthy of God. The eye of man cannot perceive it all, nor the mind of man grasp it. The building is of chosen material, of living stones, of eyes and hearts, without roughness or ugliness, without corruption or transience. Everything is in its place, everything is beautiful in its entirety and in its parts.
This, my brethren, is the goal of our journey. This is the meaning of our burning in the furnace of suffering. This is our life, better than all our plans and lovelier than all our desires.
O Lord Jesus, our Lord who lovest mankind, do not cast us away as useless material, but polish us and build us into Thine immortal Body. To thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.