Members in the Body

Life Notes—January 21, 2010 

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ…If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.   1 Corinthians 12: 12, 26 

One of the rights of passage of parents of 8th graders in Lawrence is watching, coaching, assisting and otherwise supervising the construction of a Rube Goldberg machine as a part of their child’s science project.  In the Hildenbrand basement we have the remnants of two such machines, each painstakingly crafted over a period of days, and tested and adjusted, tested and adjusted, and tested and adjusted again.  Much praying and crossing of fingers occurs on the day it is finally tested at school. 

Wikipedia defines a Rube Goldberg machine as a “deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion.”  For my children the rules included having at least 20 separate steps leading to the task completion, with the inclusion of each of the six types of simple machines: an inclined plane, pulley, wedge, wheel and axle, screw and a lever.  The final result was to pop a balloon, in Grace’s case, and turn on a light for Reid’s machine.  Through a complicated and mostly unstable maze of popsicle sticks, wooden dowels, rubber bands, string, mouse traps and other cheap and available materials a “machine” was assembled.  If any of the various parts of the machine fell out of adjustment, decided not to participate or otherwise faltered, the entire machine failed in its designed task.  And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Paul’s words to the Corinthians about everyone being different members of one body makes me think of a Rube Goldberg machine.  We are all given different gifts, some more public than others, but all critical to the proper functioning of the body of Christ.  If one of us suffers, we all suffer; when the body succeeds, we all celebrate. 

Do you know your place in the body of Christ?  Membership in a community of faith can help.  When we associate with a group working towards a larger purpose we find areas of need we are suited to fill.  We help cover tasks others are not suited for, and others cover our weaknesses.  Working together we are much stronger and more productive than when we try to accomplish tasks alone.  It is the way we were created. 

This Sunday’s theme is Celebrating Diversity.  Tom’s sermon will be drawn from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31a.  Life service is at 10:45 in Brady Hall.  Traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.  Whether you are an inclined plane, a pulley, a wedge, a wheel and axle, a screw or a lever, your specific gifts are needed at First Church! 

Come home to worship!  Find your place in the machine that is the Body of Christ!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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