“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
This past Sunday, the youth at our church undertook the great work of leading the entire congregation in worship. They sang, they danced, they shared their experiences from their trip this summer and from youth group. Overall, they showed us what it means to have energy, intelligence, imagination and love in our midst.
Among the passages shared was this one from Paul’s first letter to Corinthians, when he is discussing what it means to be a member of the body of Christ, i.e. the church. It is not enough to simply give lip service to Jesus and say, yes, that One is my Lord and Savior. No, we must be willing to share our lives with others. To care for others as much as ourselves, sometimes with even greater fervor than that.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it this way, “We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in this single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” The echoes of Paul’s words ring through that great preacher’s own voice.
We cannot escape one another. Until we stop trying to, we will be forever caught up in the sea of chaos spurned by our own greed, glory, and gluttony. What is worse, the waves of that sea will continue to wipe away the small bits of good we do manage to do – drawing one another out onto solid ground.
Among the stories shared by our younglings was this one, taken from the work of Lolly Daskal, and performed at Montreat Youth Conference this summer. It is entitled Whose Job Is It Anyway? It goes like this: “this is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”
Paul says, you are the body of Christ. You. Me. All of us. We are tied to one another. And through Christ we are tied beyond even that body into the vast multitude of the world, for we know that Christ died not just for some, but for all.
My encouragement for all of us today is to become the somebody who does the jobs that need done. Who empowers others. Builds up those who have fallen down. Strengthens those who feel lost and alone. Seeks after the Kingdom in every place. For it is what we are all meant to do. And then, maybe we will see a world risen from the chaos and walking on water together.