Preparing for worship 8/23/2020

Reflection from Pastor Hoffman:

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be the body of Christ lately, when we have been disembodied for six months. For half of a year, we have gathered only in the virtual world. We have been images on a screen to one another, not flesh and blood, three-dimensional people gathered into one.  (Until last week, that is, when we held our first in-person gathering – an outdoor service of prayer and reflection. Read more about upcoming opportunities in this Star!)

Now, I should state clearly: we are no less the body of Christ if or when we can’t be physically together. That’s the mystery of our faith! In baptism, we are joined with Christ and with one another – across time and space and pandemic protocols and any other barrier we can imagine.

At the same time, it matters that we can’t gather physically. Our experience of being the body of Christ has changed. This week in worship, we hear some familiar verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans: 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. (Romans 12:4-8)

This pandemic has cut us off from sharing these gifts with one another in ways we once did. As households hunker down, many have had to take on functions that were previously fulfilled by other members of the body. Sometimes, that meant doing things we didn’t feel particularly gifted to do. (Ask any parent how gifted they were at teaching their own children from home last Spring…) Sometimes, that meant feeling the pain of missing the gifts we depend on from others – a compassionate embrace, perhaps, or a word of cheerful encouragement.

As we move in to yet another season of life during a pandemic, I find myself wondering: what gifts are laying idle among the body of Christ in our midst? What gifts are being awakened?

We might find giftedness in ourselves that we didn’t know was there. We might find new ways to share our gifts – through technology or sheer creativity – so we don’t feel quite so disembodied as the body of Christ in this pandemic season.

Whatever else we do, I give thanks for Paul’s reminder that we don’t go it alone. We are indeed “members one of another.” We belong to each other. May God grant us the grace and courage to live as though it’s so.

~ Pastor H.