Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27
Dear Friends in Christ,
Let me explain the strange grammar in the subject line. A parishioner at a small church I served once said “we should start an 8AM service.” I responded, in effect, “Who is “we?”” She wanted the convenience of coming to an earlier service on those occasions when she had other things to do on Sundays. But she wasn’t willing to help it thrive. At least she was committed to coming to worship! But still the question remains: for the church to do something, who is the “we” who does the doing?
The church is a Christian community. We all have a share in its vitality and the effective pursuit of our mission. “We” includes “you” personally! Perhaps I do a disservice when on Sundays I only have the congregation say the second part of our mission statement. Perhaps everyone should say “Our mission is…” We each have a role as individuals to pray and follow Jesus where we are, and we each have a role as part of the community, to gather for worship and study and service and to support our mission with finances and time and talent and leadership. Paul says that each of us—and all of us together—are to build up the whole body of Christ. This is not an extra, an option in our spare time. This is a vitally important part of the Christian life; each and all of us are built up in the process, and our mission is effective and God is glorified.
Two concepts reflect this aspect of Christian living: Discipleship and Stewardship. Discipleship is following Jesus and helping others to follow Jesus. Stewardship is tending the gifts God has given us as God would have us do so. This Lent, consider how you are growing as a Christian disciple. How are you learning? How are you helping others to learn? This Lent, consider how you are growing as a Christian Steward. How are you managing your time and resources to honor God? How are you intentionally practicing generosity to others (in the church and on your own)? There are many disciplines of discipleship and stewardship that we practice as Christians; which ones are part of your daily life?
“We” is you! And I and all of us together; we are the body of Christ together.
Yours in Christ,