For as in one body we have many members, and not all members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another.
I love this verse from Romans, as it is instructive for us as the body of Christ. In a world of seemingly unordered functioning, where life just seems to happen, where random events pull us to and fro, this verse reminds us of a common center: a core strength. It is a way of being that brings focus and clarity – a unified front and a blessing of inspiration that we are in life together.
We are ONE body. We are many, but no one exists in isolation. No person, no church, no organization, stands alone. We are uniquely tied together by Christ. We are many members – and yet ONE body.
Paul desires to remind us through this verse in Romans that the 2,000 members of Our Savior’s are many and that we are ONE. Our body does not just consist of those who declare to be here, but all those whom we live in relationship with. Our body spans space, time and location. The body envelops the world. The core emanates and ripples out from our particular street corner, but it connects to the greater world through our relationships. We are many: We are ONE.
As church, we proclaim that often but fail often in engaging it as our way of life. Paul teaches that not all members have the same function. We often take that teaching and live then as disconnected people. The church becomes a place of disjointed wants. Individuals randomly show up at different ministry functions depending on taste, sight, sound, age, and other qualities. We separate each other out rather than see each other as part of a vitalized whole.
That is not what Paul is teaching. Paul instructs that while we have many different talents, abilities, and passions for living out our faith, we are joined for ONE common vision: ONE body deeply connected at our roots. Individually we are called to bring our best to the body. And by bringing our best, the body is blessed. By all individually serving, the body strengthens. By every member functioning, the body is whole. The vision: ONE!
ONE does not mean one idea, one event, or one experience. ONE does not mean one gift, talent, or ability. ONE does not limit spirit-blown creativity. ONE does not over-focus on the large and miss the small. ONE does not hinder innovation nor multiplication of ministry foci.
ONE body with many members increases the vision exponentially for the grace-filled life through varied missions. Within the body of Christ, we have all we need and more to accomplish what God sets before us. When every person is fully functioning within the body, the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. When every person is living the faith life to the fullest in the body, our world is changed.
God has some serious business to accomplish in the world – and YOU, the CHURCH, this BODY – is how the mission will be fulfilled. We get to live out of each day of our lives stoking our passion for Jesus and his mission for the world. After the empty tomb, the spirit within those first disciples could not be contained. They became ONE body. We are that ONE body today.
Today I invite you to passionately commit to “something.” That “something” is meant to not just be for the individual but for the benefit of the entire body. Another way to state this is for you to answer this question, “What is your personal mission statement that has kingdom outcomes?”
Everything we do as disciples of the living Christ is to infuse life into all the parts of the body. Every act, gesture, commitment, is to have reach and impact. Every person is to have reach and impact. The whole is to have reach and impact.
The challenge is not the “wanting to” of the body. The missional challenge is the “will to.” Will we follow through with passion and purpose? Will we form bonds of connection that enable this ministry to be accomplished? Will we take seriously the call to infuse faith into the life of all our children and youth? Will we be a body of radical hospitality and welcome and truly live all means all? Will members come off the reserve list and actively engage through the serving out of their passions?
Church, this is a vision yet to be realized! It is a vision when lived that would transform our community and world. Imagine your kidney failing: The body cannot accomplish as much when that happens. Imagine a person with much talent – but that talent has been pushed aside by busyness or distraction. The body cannot thrive to its potential when that takes place.
We have a wonderful body of people who call Our Savior’s their church home. God has done much in and through us. And there is so much more yet to do!
The day that all members of the ONE body grace each other with their talents, gifts, abilities, dreams, visions, faith, hope, and love – the BODY will be members of one another. Jesus longs for us to realize that capacity.
Remember, Jesus empowerment is all about people, not organizations, staff or buildings: People are the mission for Jesus. He gathered disciples … he sent them, but more than anything, he empowered them. Through him, they brought life to the world. We too are blessed to be a blessing…..all 2000 of us and counting! May it be so!