Sermon “Body Building: Equipped”

The Body of Christ

On Sunday September 16, 2018, Pastor Smith Walz preached from the sermon series “Body Building” on the topic ‘Equipped’. Her sermon is based on the scripture reading ‘One Body With Many Members’ from 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

To hear the sermon live, go to the Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page here

Also the sermon will be podcast soon on this webpage under the category “worship”.

This is a summary of her message:

What is your part in the Body of Christ? Are you a Foot? A Heart? A Hand? Brain? Arm? Knee? Eye? Ear? Mouth? Funny Bone? Stomach?
The Body of Christ
Hundreds of different parts work together.

This is the image Paul uses to talk about the Church, which we also call the Body of Christ. But Paul also uses humorous images to tell us there is no hierarchy in the Body of Christ.

EVERY part matters. EVERY ONE matters. EVERY ONE is needed to be the body, to be whole. Those who do manual jobs are no less important than the elected leaders or speakers. Those who work behind the scenes are just as crucial as the ones who are seen and heard. What then is your part in the Body of Christ?

Last Sunday, if you heard nothing else from the sermon of the same series ‘Body Building’, I hope you heard “You are called!” Each one of you is called by God to do God’s work of love, reconciliation and unity in the world. God equips you with one or several spiritual gifts to enable you to fulfill that calling. As we become aware of our calling and the gifts the Holy Spirit has given us to do the work, we find our place in the Body of Christ.

You are called! You are gifted! And you play a crucial role in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

I was called to be a pastor. So, God helped me over the years to overcome my fear of public speaking, with the guidance and support of friends. And I’ve continued to hear God’s call on my life to be a pastor and to help others too. Thus, through my preaching, I am seeking to engage you, teach, inspire, connect you with God, and with your everyday life. The Holy Spirit called me, equipped me with gifts and I align myself with God’s call. My gifts are teaching, knowledge, shepherding, administration, leadership.

You too are called, you are gifted! You are equipped! God has called you. God has equipped you with one or more gifts. These are your natural gifts. You have to open the gift, use the gift, allow the Holy Spirit to keep equipping you – an active aligning of oneself with God’s intentions, open to being used by God.

Therefore, Let Your Light Shine

 

Gifts of the Dark Wood: The Gift of Uncertainty.

Erik Skitch Matson — March 5, 2017 — 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

What is Lent?

Lent was spoken of in the 2nd Century, but then established as Lent with the typical Ash Wednesday in the 6th century under Gregory the Great.

Why? Self examination and Penitence in preparation for EASTER. It is a time for Repentance and Renewal: Giving up things, originally food until sundown (vegetarian), but now it is a more robust “Fasting”. It is also a time for self-reflection, prayer and reading of scripture

Gifts of the Darkwood  

Our sermon series is based on the book Gifts of the Dark Wood by Eric Elnes, a wonderful Lenten book for reflection. In this series we can see our time in the Dark Wood as a gift.

Another book worth reading, Dante’s Inferno is about finding your place in the world at the very point you feel farthest from it. Here the dark wood includes struggle. It is “where you meet God.”

As we explore the Gift of UNCERTAINTY, we realise that this is not a “Typical” gift. We like control, certainty, and understanding, now. So where can we go with uncertainty.?

In 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, we see a flurry of pride, and then a swift shift to vulnerability. I had always known Paul to be the confident leader, with the perfect pedigree and best teachers backing him — he’d fit into Princeton pretty well. But this is not your typical Paul. This Paul is more vulnerable about his own limitations and his own uncertainty. Paul admits that he sees dimly.  What would it take for us to have the courage to admit that our own spiritual vision is dim?

Take a look at the people around you: what would it take for us to dig into the Lenten season, and live in the Dark Wood of our lives together? What would it take for us to have faith, now, in these lives we live.

What would it take for us to be the body of Christ—a body where each member is known, loved, and cared for.

What would it take to be vulnerable with one another about our personal pains? Our sins? Our uncertainties?

We know we want it. We know we need it. But what will it take…?

It will take a Christian Community that has ONE body, and ONE blood. A Christian Community where we—the broken, the maimed, the sinners, and the saints—are welcomed and accepted.

Where at times we are supported, and also where we support others. Where we are known not for our rigid certainty, but our radical faith in the midst of the fluidity of real, human life.

The Christians we have looked up to for centuries… Can we follow their example? Can we create a community, here, in this place, where the hope of seeing Christ face to face leads us to accept our own spiritual vision as dim?

Where does this start? It starts with the Release of Shame. One Body, broken for you; One Blood, shed for you. The Free Gift of Grace transforms us to be the Christian Community that calls itself “The Body of Christ.”

Let us come…

As we take communion, we wonder if, by leaning on each other, our collective vision can be more powerful. Let us therefore go together, as one broken body, through the Dark Wood of Lent.