Since September of 2004 this cross has stood watch over the family of faith known as Resurrection Lutheran Church. It was made by a member of this body of faith, carefully and lovingly put together. It is made up of many different pieces and kinds of wood. If you take a close look at it, you will see not only different kinds of wood, but also different sizes of wood pieces. As I looked at it this morning it occurred to me that the cross is just like the body of faith, this family of believers. Because we are not all the same. We are all created in His image but some of us are old and others not so much. Some of us have more hair than others and we have different colors of hair. Some of are thin and others, not so much. We come from different backgrounds and countries. We have different traditions at the holidays, but we are all one family of faith.
The apostle Paul has a lot to say about being different but part of something larger than ourselves. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:27,” Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.” We are part of the whole, each one of us as individuals. In fact, 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is all about unity in diversity, in one body. This is the body that we are all baptized into. Take a listen to what else Paul says. ” For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Greeks or Jews, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say because I am not an eye, I am not of the body? If the whole body were an eye where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?”
Each one of us has a vital role assigned by God Himself. Each one of us has a place and a purpose...like it or not. We are not called to just let others do the work. We are not called to sit on the sidelines and watch. We are all part of the body and as such, we all have a job to do. Perhaps some of you will quit reading at this point. Many of us are quite comfortable with coming for an hour on Sunday and calling the week good. But Sunday worship, along with time spent in the Word and in prayer is the fuel we need to be about the Lords business for the rest of the week.
And there is this from Ephesians 2:19-22. ” So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” The apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the church because they point to and witness to Jesus...the prophets looking forward toward Jesus and the apostles looking back at what Jesus has done. The early church was established on their teaching and preaching. But Christ Himself is the rock foundation on which the whole church rests. We sing that in a song called, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less. The line is this...On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. The cornerstone is always the first stone laid in the foundation. It is in the corner...hence the name! All the other stones are then lined up with the cornerstone. But the cornerstone is the most important stone.
Roman slaves would move huge stones around until they fit together like a puzzle. In the same way God fits us together into the holy temple He is building for Himself. We all have a place in the body and no one piece is more important than the next. Not every person has the same role, and some roles are more ‘public’ than others, but no one is more important than another.
And finally, from 1 Corinthians 10:16-17,” Is not the cup, of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break not a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of one bread.” Just like the cross in the sanctuary, we are all, part of the whole. We each have a place to serve, to worship, to give. Each of us is important and valuable. Do not let anyone tell you anything different. God has a place and a plan for each of us. The question is...are we willing to accept them?
In His grip
Pastor Matt W