We’re in this together!
As I was recently reviewing my phone photos while looking for a needed picture, I came across a bank of photos I took during our Block Party back in July. You know, the one with the giant pizzas and the oversized chocolate chip cookies?!? After the church staff, along with its two summer employees, had finished all our preparations for the event – cutting up watermelon, finishing with table and chair set ups, setting out lawn games, making home-made slime – we decided we’d take a staff picture. But then we never actually used that photo for anything…until now!
We climbed into one of the big inflatable jumpy houses, and the whole thing wobbled and quivered until we all got our footing just so. “Hold your breath!” someone said while another shouted, “Don’t move!” We held our positions still long enough for the photo to be taken, which is the picture you are seeing first in this pondering. As soon as we captured the picture, though, I started jumping up and down because I believe it is my job on the staff to destabilize things every once in a while – nobody else thinks that should be my job, but I still do it with mischief in my eyes! The whole jumpy house suddenly grew unstable and tilted this way and that. People lost their grip and started losing balance, which then is the second picture in this pondering. It’s funny how just one person like little old me can cause such a ruckus and effect everybody else. So you can see I’m escaping the chaos that I had just caused, even as I’m smiling and enjoying my own shenanigans.
These pictures give me an analogy for our church life together. And that is that each one of us matters, and each one of us contributes to either helping our church be wobbly and shaky, or be strong and stable. Now, I must say that comparing a bouncy house to a church can be a tricky sort of metaphor to play with, but truly I only mean to focus on the fact that the movements which one of us will take can have a big reverberating effect on the rest of the group.
Take our stewardship, for example. The way we each pitch in and take our portion of responsibility for the financial well-being of our church has a tremendous effect on Family of Christ’s overall health and stability. We may not all give the same amount of offering, but when we’re all generously giving according to our abilities, our ministry thrives. And we feel all the more joyful about our giving when we sense that others are joyful in giving too. Or think about the worship we offer together. It is always a more effective and deeper spiritual event when we gather with our brothers and sisters to pray together, sing together, strive together to grow in our faith. We can feel the weight of the people’s prayers next to us in that sanctuary. Or when we enter into an educational theme like this fall’s ‘Take Care’ emphasis, we are all the better when we can honestly talk, one with another, about the struggles and challenges of daily living. And we acknowledge that it isn’t always an easy path, and we all need help sometime. Those who are hurting can truly feel that church is a safe and welcoming place for them, and they will be treated with kindness and respect here. We’re all in this together, and my movement affects you, even as your movement affects me.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all of the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Each of us matters around here, and what we do and say and share together helps our church be strong on its feet. And bold in its ministry. Oh, I’m sure we’ll still wobble sometimes. There’s always a guy like me who can jump up and down for fun and make everybody reach for the railings! But then when it gets right down to doing the work of ministry, we trust in the Spirit to hold us together, and make us one body in Christ. This is how we keep taking our joyful, faithful steps forward in Christ!
Let’s see each other in church – Pastor Josh