As I am about to leave for a two night retreat, I’m thinking of this congregation I am leaving behind. It’s a swell group of people. I remember the first time I heard about OSA. I think it was Tom Ciccone who said, “We’re the intellectual, quirky, weird congregation in Manhattan.” I thought, that sounds like my kind of congregation! And for three and a half years, it’s been my privilege to be your pastor.
This retreat is part of a two-year program called VISION, a Lilly-funded initiative geared toward pastors in their first 4-12 years of ministry. I really believe in continual sharpening of skills, that no one can ever stop learning, and that there is always something you can get better at doing, something that’s worth trying, something that’s worth contemplating, whether you’re a teacher, pastor, nurse, or haberdasher. That’s kind of the point of this VISION thing, and at about this time next year, I’ll be getting a grant to do a project—whatever I think will be useful for this congregation and this ministry.
I am reminded that the body of Christ has many members, from the bottom of the foot to the unruly cowlick. Each one of them is important, and every one of them unique in its own way. Paul really believed that every person, no matter who they were, had an important place in the body of Christ. The gums are small part of the body, and they only have one job, but just try living without them!
I think, as I leave to contemplate my own role in this body, that all of us—from the newest little baby, to the eldest church elder, could stand to take some time to think, too. What’s my important job in the body? What does God want from me? What’s my calling? Because, it’s true: each of us is vital to the body of Christ. God has called none of us in vain. You are useful to God, important, chosen. What has God fitted you into this body to do?