Sunday, June 14, 2009

One Body, a Whole Lot of Parts

Now that Vacation Bible School has been over for a couple of days and I've had a chance to rest, I'm finally able to reflect on it a bit. I was running around from one thing to another all week, so I didn't have much of a chance to find a lesson in any of it. But now I do and the lesson I keep coming back to is the lesson of who we are as Christ's Body: each of those who helped to lead the program took their smaller part of it, as it fit in with their gifts. I led the games, for example, because I know how to do that. Something like crafts, on the other hand, would have been a mystery to me.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned here about how VBS is a parable for the church: how we all serve through our gifts toward one common goal; that it takes flexibility, patience, and forgiveness to work closely with the other members of Christ's Body; and that our diversity actually makes us more effective in the work we are called to do. I could probably extend that list out a bit, but it's that last lesson that interests me today.

I noticed something about those who led VBS last week: none of them were around my age. This is not a judgment, it's just an observation. Our VBS was led by the same types of people who lead VBSs everywhere: the members of Christ's Body who have the time to lead it, lead it. Generally, that means, unless you're paying me to be there, people my age are going to be at work. And as long as we remember to help with VBS by contributing financially, that still leaves two very qualified groups to actually run it: teens and retirees (or semi-retireed).

Now let that soak in a bit... Vacation Bible School happens mostly because two groups of people who have almost nothing else in common work together to make it happen. And that, my friends, is the beauty of Christ's Body at work. If our church was made up of only teens, or only retirees, or only those in the middle, VBS would either not happen well or it wouldn't happen at all. But because we can incorporate such diverse age groups, this ministry not only happens, it happens exceedingly well.

I believe this is also true in any other way one could categorize us demographically. The work of the Church is more effective because of our diversity: we are young and old, male and female, politically conservative and liberal; we each have our own personal histories, families and ethnic backgrounds; and let's not forget our multitude of various gifts and talents. The world around us tends to see this kind diversity as a problem to be solved, but in Christ it's the other way around. The only same thing among us all is that we each have been called to follow Jesus. Those things that make us different in every other way, only makes us serve him that much more effectively.

We are, in many ways, a diverse group; and for that I am thankful. And I am especially thankful this week for those in our congregation who are older, working with those who are younger, to teach the youngest of our community of the love of God in Christ.