1 Corinthians 13: 12 For 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. 13 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… God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
A key theme in 1 Corinthians is unity. Why? Because there was dissension within the church. Some people considered themselves superior to others because they came from a Jewish background, as did Jesus. Some were wealthy, others poor. Some had more impressive spiritual gifts than others. Some were free while others were slaves. And while those distinctions meant a great deal in the world outside of the church, Paul (author of this letter) is having none of it inside the church. In the Christian community people were obviously different, but none better than another or more important than another. It’s hard for us to understand what a radical idea this was at the time – and, frankly, in our day as well.
The first Lutheran church I ever belonged to was First Lutheran Church in San Marcos, Texas. I was in my early 20s and felt like a fish out of water for a while. Fortunately, having grown up Catholic, there were enough similarities to make it feel a little familiar, but I still felt very much like a “newb”. So imagine my surprise when I was invited to serve on the church council. Me?! You sure?! It changed the way I understood my place in the church. A few years later, it was that invitation to leadership that opened my heart to being called as a pastor of the church – which I have now done for 25 years.
Today I am always looking for ways to invite young people, or people relatively new to our church, to serve in leadership. Sometimes they propose things that make us established folks a bit uncomfortable. They push us to think differently about our church and our world. I don’t always agree with them, but whenever possible I choose to trust them. They represent the future of the church. Lord let it be so. Amen.
One thought on “We’re not all the same – and that’s okay…”
I wish we had Paul here today to talk about unity of the Church. Things like abortion, transgenderism, and Marxism are seen so differently by members of the same body. Some members consider these ideas evil on one side and loving on the other side. I can’t imagine what it would take to make me change my mind. I used to try to make myself as agnostic as possible when I was younger, but the more my personal relationship with Christ has developed, the more resolute I am in my positions.