But God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ –
by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2: 4-5
So what is rheumatoid arthritis?
About 1% of Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men, but men tend to have more severe symptoms. It usually happens in middle age, but young children and the elderly also can get rheumatoid arthritis.It is thought to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. With rheumatoid arthritis, something seems to trigger the immune system to attack the joints and sometimes other organs. Some theories suggest that a virus or bacteria may alter the immune system, causing it to attack the joints. Other theories suggest that smoking may lead to rheumatoid arthritis.Research hasn’t found exactly what role genetics plays in rheumatoid arthritis. Some people do seem to have a genetic or inherited factor that increases their chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Once the immune system is triggered, immune cells migrate from the blood into the joints and joint-lining tissue, called synovium. There the immune cells make inflammatory substances that cause irritation, wearing down of cartilage (the cushioning material at the end of bones), and swelling and inflammation of the joint lining. As the cartilage wears down, the space between the bones narrows. As it gets worse, the bones could rub against each other.Inflammation of the joint lining causes fluid to build up with the joint. As the lining expands, it may damage the bone. All of these things cause the joint to become very painful, swollen, and warm to the touch.
Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate
in order to sanctify the people by his own blood.
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
I believe it is time for the Body of Christ to stop hobbling around, blind, deaf, mute, tattered, and torn. It’s time that we come together in LOVE, focusing on our FAITH in God, and sharing the HOPE that we have through Christ Jesus. This world is longing for something (or Someone) to believe in, someone with real hope for tomorrow, and we all have hurts. We all need love.
Let’s put our differences aside, open the gates, let others in, and send ourselves out!
Grace is messy,