1 Corinthians 12: 12-20, 27 (Contemporary English Version)
The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the foot still belong to the body? Or suppose an ear says, “I’m not an eye, and so I’m not part of the body.” Wouldn’t the ear still belong to the body? If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn’t hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn’t smell a thing. But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best. A body isn’t really a body, unless there is more than one part. It takes many parts to make a single body. Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body.
The body of Christ… its different
Not one student is alike. Seems like an obvious statement, but it goes so much deeper than the obvious. Students are all trying to figure that out. They are growing, changing, learning, and developing. Each is trying to find their own identity. They want to know who they are. They know they aren’t all the same, but they are trying to figure out when they should be alike and when they shouldn’t. Working with students makes me very aware of the differences between people and how important it is to allow everyone to be themselves.
We are not all alike. We have different lives and different journeys that got us to where we are today. Some have been Christians their whole lives and others are completely new to it. Some have massive doubts and huge questions while others know it all to be true. Some would worship with song everyday day and others have no desire, or are even afraid, to step foot inside a sanctuary. Some don’t even know what the word "sanctuary" means, and that’s okay. We are all different, but it’s the church that can bring us together.
As we read in 1 Corinthians 12, God created it that way. God celebrates difference. We might be confused or uncomfortable by this, but God created the kingdom that way for a reason. The body functions best with these differences. Imagine the people could be brought to the kingdom if we had better parking, more seating in worship and a community center for all generations. This next step in our building allows us to open the doors even further for those who have different journeys and different gifts. These are the people we can learn from and grow with in faith.
I have been working with our students to help them embrace and accept the differences. It is in regular conversation that we say all are invited and included in the body of Christ. To take it even further, they are learning that the body of Christ isn’t complete until everyone is a part of it. And they get it! We have had so many new students – wonderfully different students – who have been welcomed and included. We are breaking down walls and the body of Christ is strengthened and growing because of it.
This new space and new improvements will help us continue to invite people of all kinds into the body Christ. Let’s be open those missing, so that the body can become complete.
Thank you so very much for differences. Thank you for making us different and help us understand the beauty of our differences. Thank you for the differences that we enjoy in others and differences that push us out of our comfort zone. Those differences that make up the body of Christ are so amazing. Help us be faithful and focused on growing the body, knowing that it’s not complete until everyone is a part of it.
Lead us towards paths that welcome our neighbors into a relationship with you. We know that the same relationship that has changed our lives can change theirs, too. We do all this for you and for your kingdom. It’s in your wonderful name we pray,
— Rick Webb