By Pastor Wes Poole
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. – NRSV
Charles Osgood once told the story of two ladies who lived in a convalescent center. Each had suffered an incapacitating stroke. Margaret’s stroke left her left side restricted, while Ruth’s stroke damaged her right side. Both of these ladies were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again. The director of the center sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together. They did, and a beautiful friendship developed. What a picture of the church’s need to work together! What one member cannot do alone, perhaps two or more could do together…in harmony.
What a difference just a little connection can make! Lord knows we’ve all had our fill of disconnect over the last year and a half. Now that we’re moving into a post-COVID world, I find myself especially grateful for the return of the human interaction that heretofore we’ve taken for granted. Monday evening I was at an actual choral rehearsal…singing…with no mask! Oh, the rapture! There were lots of tears of joy and spontaneous hugging going on! Connection…community…cooperation…these things have never seemed sweeter. Here in our Good Shepherd family, we’re also reestablishing the connections in our congregation that we’ve missed so badly. Any number of people have commented to me on how nice it is, especially with one service on Sunday, to see folks we may not have seen since way before the pandemic even blipped our radar screens! It is remarkable just how powerful a hug or a handshake can be after being denied them for so long! It serves to remind us of one undeniable truth. Our faith, the Christianity we hold so dear; these things, by definition, exist in community! Like the story above, when we connect with others, celebrating our individual gifts, real communication is the result, we get much more done, and our quality of life is immeasurably better. Thanks be to God for all of the good people who have helped us transition back to a time where we can be together once more as a family. May we never take such things for granted again!
Let us pray…
God of family and community, we give you thanks for the gift of human interaction. As we return to a time of interconnectedness, help us renew our zeal for ministry and our appreciation of each others’ gifts.
Strengthen our sense of belonging to each other, so that we may continue serving our neighbors as Jesus commanded us. For it is in his name that we pray. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church!
Your partner in Christ,
Pastor Wes †