Monday, February 1, 2010

February/March newsletter

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

When Paul wrote those words, he wasn’t just talking about a perfect (and imaginary) church. He was addressing a real community of real people. The church in Corinth was about as real as they come—richly gifted for ministry, but also troubled by conflicting loyalties and confused practices. (Just skim 1 and 2 Corinthians and you’ll see what I mean.) Yet it is this community that Paul calls “the body of Christ”!

As we progress through the weeks after Epiphany, heading towards Lent, we have spent some time with Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In these chapters, Paul tells us how amazing our life together is meant to be: one body, each individual member gifted by God and placed in relationship with the others, all holding together in love.

Sometimes we get to experience that in our life as a parish. For example, if you stopped in to visit our Confirmation class on a Wednesday night, you would see youth and adults from all four congregations in our parish, sharing and learning from one another, growing in faith and in relationship. Or you might see how the body of Christ works by visiting the Minnewaska Lutheran Home, where you are sure to run into volunteers from our community, visiting and working with staff and residents.

Sometimes, however, the image of one body of Christ seems no more than a distant dream. We’ve experienced some of that this past year, as we struggle with issues brought up at last summer’s Churchwide Assembly, and as we try to faithfully respond even though we don’t all agree with each other. We read that “just as the body of is one and has many members…so it is with Christ” (1 Cor 12:12). But that isn’t always what it feels like!

But still, regardless of our experience on any given day, Paul’s words are us true in Starbuck as they were in Corinth: we are the body of Christ. We are the ones who gifted by the one Spirit for the common good—not because of our worthiness, but because “in the one Spirit we were baptized into one body” (12:13a). What exactly does this mean for our life together and for our individual lives? We’ll spend the whole season of Lent (and, indeed, the whole church year!) exploring the answers to just that question.

May God’s love and peace be with us all.

~Pastor Sarah