“Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
What part do you play? What is your role in this drama?
As a parish with a long history of performance, we should be well versed in the peculiarities of the theater. The ‘show’ is never just about the people on the stage, and often the people who get the most recongnition on stage are the least responsible for what has actually happened on it. The song doesn’t sound as great if the lights aren’t up, the mics are on, the stage isn’t set and the acoustics aren’t perfect. The impact isn’t the same if the paint colors are off or the entrance is ill timed or the curtains aren’t open all the way. The beautiful part of watching a Memorial players production come to life is not the stunning applause after the big solo or the final curtain call - it is seeing a band of relative strangers become one body, one unit. It is the Assistiant Director saying ‘saying Ready in five’ and 50 people responding ‘thank you five’. It is a room of actors and tech people and musicians and light engineers and stagehands and parents holding hands backstage to say thank you to each other and to God for this opportunity.
And everyone has a role to play in the drama.
And everyone has a role to play in THIS drama. In the continuing life and ministry of Memorial Church here in Bolton Hill. Whether you have been here for ten minutes or ten years or a lifetime, you are important to our work, to our common life together. And while the right hand may not like what the left hand is doing, they both recognize the value in the other, and the need for the other to be there. These readings about the Body of Christ are the perfect preparation for our annual meeting because they remind us that we do this for God and with God and with each other. And when we believe that we do it with each other we are empowered by the spirit to make it happen.
As we look back on all the incredible things accomplished over the last year - feeding hundreds of people at Linden Park, shutting down an active drug corner with a party and games on Ceasefire weekend, hosting more than 100 people every Wednesday in Lent for the Joint Lenten Series, Organizing our first Summer Kids Camp in many years, starting an after school program at Mt. Royal School, expanding our church membership and attendance, welcoming a new deacon and Seminarian - these are not things that we thought were possible in 2016. But working together, as the hands and feet of Christ, we have been able to accomplish them. And do them well.
Now notice what Paul does not say! He doesn’t put a litmus test on the body of Christ. There is no ‘well that finger hasn’t been around long enough. That toe isn’t the right color. That spleen isn’t the right age. Even the pieces we don’t think matter, the appendix, the gall bladder, have a part to play - just as those who don’t think they matter outside this place, matter inside. Whoever you are out there, in here you are nothing more or less than a child of God. Just as the rest of us are.
So friends, I invite you this week to ponder the spirits work in your life, and also what your role in THIS Body of Christ might be. Are you called to assist with communications? With fighting the opioid epidemic? With leading worship? With spearheading our justice ministry? With reading from the lectern or serving on the altar? Maybe setting up the flowers? All these possibilities and more exist - and God (and the rest of us) are just waiting for you to step into those shoes.