Romans: 12:4-8 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
I hope you’re each doing well as we continue to be the church together remotely. Please know that you are in my prayers.
I share you with you these thoughts today as I reflect on one of Sunday’s scripture passages. In the italicized verses above, Paul’s image of the church as the Body of Christ is a familiar one. Perhaps it’s important to define exactly what is meant by the Body of Christ. It is my understanding that the Body of Christ consists of all baptized Christians which includes an incredible diversity of faith traditions, beliefs, and practices. It also encompasses the full spectrum of humanity in all of its rich variety. It is estimated that there are about 2.4 billion Christians in the world. Can you imagine what an impact for good we could make if we were in reality a body united in actively living out Christ’s Great Commandment to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves? Sadly, that’s something we have not achieved these 2000+ years.
In Seasons of the Spirit C.E. resource, it’s stated, “The Body of Christ forms a place where all people have a valued part, and where we may be our true selves. God in Christ gathers us in community that is united through mutual care. Here, we deepen our understanding of community in reverence of God’s word. Here, we seek to grow in faithful ministry. We are called to value each member and to focus on the gifts he or she has. We are also called to help each other discover our gifts and to use them for the building up of the church.” Do you know what your gifts are? What gifts do you see in others that you need to let them know you appreciate?
I share with you this story about helping others recognize their gifts.
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on either end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, prefect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of waht it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.’ ‘Why,’ asked the bearer, ‘what are you ashamed of?” ‘I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,’ the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, ‘As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.’ Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, ‘Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.'”
Each of us has our flaws. There are no perfect people, but each of us also is a necessary part of the Body of Christ. And so I would remind you today, that all the members of Christ Congregational UCC, are part of the body of Christ. All are needed; all our different gifts are necessary for the building up of this particular body.
I am grateful to each of you for the gifts that you bring to, and so generously share with, CCC. We are the Body of Christ, whether together or separated. Thanks be to God!
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Candyclick here to download this week's bulletin!