English blog

1 Corinthians 12:26 – sympathizing

15-10-2019 - Posted by Andre Piet

And whether one members is suffering, all the members are sympathizing, or one member is being esteemed, all the members are rejoicing with it.

The experience of belonging together among people we call solidarity. Usually the smaller the circle, the more intense we experience this bond. Think of a family or a small village community where the connection is usually much stronger than in a big city.

The ecclesia as Paul describes it forms a body and therefore an unbreakable unity. Togetherness (> belonging together) results from this. Looking up each other, being concerned with each other’s fate is part of that. If one member suffers, the others suffer with it. Pain that is felt by a loved one (for example a child) can sometimes be even more painful than the pain for the person himself!

Paul uses a word here that our verb “sympathize” is derived from. This is made up of the elements “sym” (= together) and “pathos”. We recognize “Pathos” in our word “passion” which has the meaning of “suffering” (> passionflower, passion) but also of “emotion” and “passion”. Doing something with passion, passionate. The solidarity that Paul is talking about is a “together passion.” Suffering together but also experiencing joy together! Because we are one body.