February Message from Pastor Nickel

Christ’s Body Works Together

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27

People say hitting a pitched baseball is one of the hardest skills in all of sports.   All the parts of the body have to work together to do it properly.  The eyes have to see the ball coming.  The brain has to quickly judge whether the pitch is worth hitting and in a split-second activate the fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, waist, hips, legs, feet – the whole body – in a coordinated motion to effectuate a good swing.  Each member is necessary.  Without the eyes, the rest of the body would not even detect the pitch coming, much less be able to direct a swing at the ball.  Without the hands and fingers, the body would not even grip the bat.  Without the feet, there would be nothing supporting the body in the batters’ box.  Without the turning of the waist and hips, there would be no power in the swing.  

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God’s intention is to save the world through Jesus Christ.  Collectively, we Christians comprise the body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as our head.  Our Triune God uses the body of Christ – the whole Church, the assembly of all who believe in Christ – to bring His salvation to individuals, families, communities, and the world.  As a part of the body of Christ, we have expressed this as “Together in God’s Word and love, we boldly go to sow and grow God’s kingdom.”

So as we consider our vision of Holy Cross and what we will undertake for the next several years, let us remember that our aim isn’t to make all of Clarence Lutheran, just as within Holy Cross we cannot remake each other into ourselves.  The body wouldn’t function well if we were all just hands, or all just feet!   

Instead, as we go forward together, we respect and value what each of us in our congregation contributes as a member of the Body of Christ as we attempt, together, to accomplish the Lord’s purpose in our time and place.   

And just as the fingers are connected with the hand, we support and remain connected with the next part of the body, the congregations in our Circuit, our District, and our Synod to support what God is doing to save the wider world.   For example, we already do this by participating in joint Advent and Lenten services, by praying for them, by tithing a portion of our offerings to the District, by supporting Pioneer Camp, by participating in various local and Synod activities, etc.  They are supporting us, cheering for us, and praying for us too.   And we work appropriately with neighboring Christians in showing Christ’s mercy through local organizations like Hearts for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity, the Clarence Food Pantry, etc.  

And as we interact with our community and the people God places in our path – as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ, we let the Holy Spirit guide the way they will go, just as the Holy Spirit directs our own path through the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament.

May the Lord guide our path together, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

~Pastor Nickel