You are the Body of Christ
There’s an old story that’s been around since the French Revolution called Stone Soup, perhaps you’ve heard it…
A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows. The stranger smiled and asked why are you all so frightened? I am a simple traveler, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal. "There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," he was told. "We are weak and our children are starving. Better keep moving on." "Oh, I have everything I need," he said. "In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." He pulled an iron cauldron from his cloak, filled it with water, and began to build a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a silken bag and dropped it into the water. By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows. As the stranger sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their fear. "Ahh," the stranger said to himself rather loudly, "I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage -- that's hard to beat." Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he'd retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. "Wonderful!!" cried the stranger. "You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king." The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share. The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day. As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road. He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to the group, was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed all the magic."
This story really illustrates the power of all of us when we each just share just a small portion of ourselves and our possessions focused for a common purpose. St. Paul talks of this synergy as the Body of Christ. St. Paul tells us that we all have different gifts and parts to play in building up the kingdom of God – right here and right now. We are all different, but when working together we become Christ in the world for others.
Each of you has gifts and has in many ways already put them to God’s use. Like the story Stone Soup, St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians outlines how the Church functions much in the same way - bringing everyone’s gifts into focus. St. Paul then goes on to say that all that we do must also be done with love. The formula for growth and change is simple. If we combine our passions, talents and gifts, in love, and focus them on changing the world for Christ we cannot fail. We become incorporate the “Body of Christ” acting in and through the world. This is what the church at its heart should always strive to be: Christ acting in the world as the Church through its members.
Part of my calling as a Deacon is to help my parishioners match their passions with the world’s needs. Some have felt a tug towards doing or championing a particular ministry and we try to help them with the resources and to connect them with other parishioners that may share their passions. Perhaps you are currently doing your passion in your job or your hobby, or perhaps you have always felt a love of something that you just haven’t been able to follow through with. Try to find someone in your church or area that might be able to help connect you to others and resources. My hope with these blogs is to enliven you in your calling and purpose in serving God and one another.
We all have special gifts and talents. Each of us is unique and has something very special to offer. We all have a song to sing, and no one should leave here with that song unsung. We are all part of God’s creation—fitting together like pieces of a puzzle. We are joined and share the same spirit. Being a Church, then, is a way to re-connect with one another and with God through fellowship and communion; by giving of ourselves to one another.
Reflecting on the story of the Stone Soup you can begin to envision what we can accomplish if we all combine our small offerings together. Even small contributions can yields GREAT results in service to God and his church; for together we can do much more than any one of us alone can do. Little is much when God’s in it!
Think of us here as the “Body of Christ” in motion, each adding something to the world that produces for others a glimpse into the kingdom of God here and now; fulfilled through our Christian witness and service to God and one anothe. Like the soup it is amazing what can be accomplished when we all work together!
God bless you all!
Your faithful servant,