You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
–1 Corinthians 12:27–
Friends in Christ,
Yesterday was another great Sunday in worship, and I hope that you experienced God’s presence in our gathering together. It is always good when God’s people gather, and I believe that in gathering God is revealed in all sorts of ways.
As I’ve thought about yesterday’s sermon I can’t stress enough how important Paul’s image of the community of faith as the body of Christ is to us at this time and in this place. The fact is that we are a diverse congregation made up of young folks and old folks, white folks and black folks, people living on the edge financially and folks who are very comfortable in their economic status. We have liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and folks who couldn’t give two cents for any political opinion or identity. We have folks who served in the military and folks who didn’t, people who owned their own business and those who work for someone else. While we may all think that we are the same, the fact is that the scope of those who God has brought to City Road is pretty broad, and it will only get broader in the future.
And yet, for some reason that only God understands, God has brought us together to witness to his love to the people of Madison. As Paul reminds us, we ARE one body of Christ. That isn’t a goal to work toward, that is a reality . . . whether we like it or not. Our task is not to become one body, but rather to live into the reality that Christ has already brought into being. We can fight it all we want (and far too often we do) but Paul reminds us of our unity is spite of ourselves. To fight that God created oneness is to reject the very will of God himself.
Of course, I started out the sermon yesterday focusing on membership, and how we are members of Christ’s body. But I want to be clear that I’m not talking to only those who have officially “joined the church.” Belonging to a community is an interesting thing. I know that there are many who would consider City Road their church home, but have never officially joined. I kind of think of this like a common law marriage — if you hang with us long enough you are part of the family even if you’ve never actually made the vows. You ARE part of us, which likewise means that you ARE part of the body of Christ as well, working toward the well being of the entire body.
During the next several weeks we are are going to be considering some of the ways that the parts of the body work together for building up the entire body. In our United Methodist tradition, we believe that prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness work together to grow the church up into Christ so that it can share God’s love. Some of us are more gifted in one of these things than the others, but ALL are necessary if we want to be the church that God wants us to be.
I hope, beg, and plead that you will make a special effort over the next few weeks to attend worship as we think on these things together. Prayer, presence, gifts service, and witness are crucial to our future as Christ’s community, and my hope is that we can come together in Christ, living out our call as one body, to use these gifts to make God’s love real and make a difference in Madison.
Y’all have a great week. See you next Sunday.