Monday, January 25, 2010

With One Heart

When I read the reading appointed for this morning I instantly thought how appropriate it was that on the day when we are going to have our annual meeting we read from St. Paul’s letter to Corinthians about the importance of unity in the body of Christ.
In my mind nothing is more important to our life together then an understanding of our unity.
First of all we should say that our unity is not about all of us agreeing on everything.
There is no way two people let alone eighty people will ever think exactly alike on any subject.
If you want proof, simply talk to someone who is married and they will tell you how hard it is for two people to agree on issues.
Notice in Paul’s description of the body there are many parts of the body all doing different things.
The hand and eye are not the same, and do not have the same function.
But they work together for the same purpose.
In our life together we might not always agree on every little thing.
What we have to agree on is the big thing.
What we are here to do is serve the same God.
What we are here to do is show others Jesus Christ, and help them grow in their faith.

Second, all parts of the body are important.
Everyone has a job to do, and the body does not function without its parts.
Every person in this congregation is important to me.
I believe that God put you here for some reason.
To accomplish some task within the body of Christ.
I don’t believe that any of us are here merely by accident, but that God arranged the body of Christ for a reason.
Where would we be without one another?
Where would our congregation be with Joann Willmansen?
We would not be able to sing as wonderfully and beautifully as we do.
Our choir would not have its wonderful spirit and joyful noise that it makes to the Lord.
One the other hand where would Joann Willamsen be without the choir?
Where would she be with Jean, Phil, Betsy, Sally, Andi, or any of the other people who sing in the choir?
Each voice is important and adds to the wonderfully beautiful singing we get to hear.
Where would our congregation be without Alva Hauser?
The table of the Lord would not be set.
Worship would come to a complete hault.
Alva Makes sure that someone is ready to set up the altar each week.
To change the paraments according to the liturgical season, and to make sure the bread and wine are set out.
But where would she be without all the people who help her?
Where would she be without Phyllis, faith, Virginia, Judith, Kate or Joyce?
Indeed we all need one another.
We need each other because together our gifts taken as a whole add up to the body of Jesus Christ.

Where would be without our ushers, communion assistants, worship assistants?
There would be no worship on Sunday morning.
Where would be without our church council?
Where would be without Phil Joseph who puts his heart and soul into doing God’s work?
Where would be without Bill Hauser who keeps us on track?
Where would be without Edwina who takes minutes?
Or Jennifer Buck and Bob Hunton who count the money and pay the bills?
Now there might some of you out there who I haven’t mentioned yet.
And it would appear that perhaps those there are some who do less.
But just coming to worship every week is something that is important to the body of Christ.
Imagine if I had no one to preach to.
Imagine if no one heard the word of God?
We need people who hear, who take it to heart and who live it out in their everyday lives.
You are important to the body of Christ too.
Not everyone should serve on the Church council.
Not everyone should sing in the choir.
In fact, there might be some of you who come and then do something for the Lord that none of us sees.
Is not serving your community also the Lord’s work?
Some of you might be scout leaders, coaches, teachers, police officers, nurses, doctors…
All of those things are important part of what we do here at Concordia.
As long as you see those things as all being part of your calling to serve God by serving your neighbors they are important to our common ministry.

So we see that we all matter that everyone of us is called by God to play some part in this body of Christ.
It is important to keep in mind at a congregational meeting so that we do not get lost in the details of running the institution of the Church.
Because ultimately what our congregational is about, and what the church is about, is relationships.
The relationship each of us has with God.
And the relationship each of us has with other parts of the body of Christ.

Someone once suggested to me that I take this too personally.
I want you to know that I do take this calling of mine personally.
Because for me church is about our relationship to one another.
I care about each and every one of you.
Sometimes I wish that I didn’t.
I wish I could just let go of those people that disagree with me.
I can’t because I think you are important to this endeavor.
It matters that you are here even if we disagree.
We are the body of Christ and everyone here matters.

And if one of us suffers….we all suffer.
If you are suffering for whatever reason I suffer with you.
I want you all to know Christ personally and we do that through one another.
It is why your problems become my problems.
It is why what happens to you matters.
It is why it is so painful when we don’t talk out our issues.
On the flip side your joys are my joys.
When one rejoices….we all rejoice.
Your triumphs are mine and vise versa.
This is why we have to root for one another to be successful.

The success of a church is determined by how well the people involved work with one another.
If everyone is going in the same direction with the same mission in mind then things go well.
When there is division, rancor, and hostility with everyone doing their own thing then well things are not so good.

We are the body of Christ together.
We need one another.
We suffer together…we rejoice together.
And together we serve as Jesus presence to others here in Concordia.
As we gather for our annual meeting let us remember our unity in Christ.
Let us remember our gifts that we use to serve Jesus in this place and time.

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