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.
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.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NRSV)
This is the second article in a two-part series on the body and blood of Christ. In the last article I talked about how each of us has a role, or roles, to play in the church. Hands and feet, teachers and evangelists, those were the major topics of the discussion. However, if you’ve been involved in a church for very long, you’ve probably heard something similar before. Being connected to the Body of Christ is nothing new. It is important, I would say essential, but not new.
The topic this week, the blood of Christ, may be new for you. As I have learned about and grown into the role of a pastor in the life of the church, I have found one glaring truth, the pastor cannot do this alone. It probably will not surprise you to know that I’d like to be able to solve all the problems, cure all the ailments, and bring peace and wholeness to our community of faith. I really would. But I can’t. I’m just a man, a human being like each and every one of you.
Pastors sometimes complain about being placed on a pedestal. Well, we do that to ourselves sometimes. We care so deeply for you, the people of the church, that we want to take on the role of savior, not pastor. Honestly, I don’t have what it takes to be a savior. The good news is that I don’t have to fill that role. Jesus was, is, and always will be, the one who brings wholeness and healing. Pastors aren’t called to be saviors. Thanks be to God.
Pastors are not called to be saviors, we are called to be equippers. In Ephesians 4, Paul writes that pastors and teachers are to equip the people of God for the work of MINISTRY, until we reach unity in faith and knowledge (see Eph. 4:11-13). The blood that keeps a community of faith alive and growing is the ministry of its members. If the hand is hurting, the foot doesn’t just ignore it, but sends resources to help it heal. If someone in our community of faith is hurting, it is the responsibility of everyone else to see what they can do to help.
I want to pause for just a moment and clarify something I said just a moment ago. I used the term “members,” but I don’t mean that in a “sign-on-the-dotted-line” kind of way. Although there is, I believe, great value in publicly proclaiming, “I am a member of this community of faith.” However, there are people who have not made that public statement who are certainly members of the body. They are members because they are faithful in service, in giving, in being a part of this community. The whole idea of “membership” is something that the leaders of MCC are prayerfully considering so we will draw circles of inclusion, not exclusion. Back to the ministry of all believers…
We are rolling out some new ways to stay connected with one another as a church family. Church Updates, a new phone tree system, and hopefully more activity on the website and Facebook. But, these are just tools. They will not do the ministry for us. They will only help us minister to one another, and to the world around us. When I hear that someone needs prayer, I still have to pray. When I know someone has a need, I need to go and help. (Not because I’m a pastor, but because I’m a Christian.)
This is a piece of “the other side of the lake” that I talked about in church last Sunday. I can tell you from two recent personal experiences that it is those moments of caring that solidify the relationships of love and support. I’m not suggesting we have to drop everything and rush over to help. But I truly believe that God speaks to us and, if we are listening and willing to act, we can embody God’s presence here on earth. We can be agents of bringing God’s kingdom to life in this world that so desperately needs that peace and presence.
Thank you to those who have touched my life recently. I pray that you will join me as I strive to become more, and more, the Christian God is calling me to be. I am so blessed to call you my brothers and sisters in Christ. And I pray that we would all grow as we journey to the other side of the lake together.