One of the things I learned very early on in my priesthood is I cannot do all the work of the church. The priest cannot be everywhere, at every event, leading every ministry. And I have wholeheartedly come to believe that she should not try. In doing so, the priest disables the ministry of the laity, and to be frank, never gets close to the glory of what can happen when everyone contributes their gifts in ministry to the work of the church. When Paul talks about the Body of Christ being like parts of the body – where every hand, foot, elbow, and nose are needed to make the Body complete – Paul was talking about the leaders too. The Body of Christ does not function without all the members.
I have been reminded of this truth this week as I have watched our Vacation Bible School program in action. Months of planning, organizing, imagining, and executing have come to fruition. I was given 10 minutes this week for teaching and prayer. The rest of the time – five days, 15 hours, 900 minutes – has been filled with adults, youth, and even children leading a wonderful week of reflection about where we see God, how we can be helpers in God’s mission, and how we can be God’s hands, changing the world. It has been a glorious experience to watch fingers strumming guitars, adults comforting children, teens running little ones’ energy out, children holding hands, priests from neighboring churches teaching and praying, and, as I like to imagine, God smiling broadly as God hears us asking God to “kumbaya.”
Part of what is nice about this week is I get to see the work of the Body up close. I get to see church members flexing their vocational gifts, teaching and showing our kids how much God loves them and how they are now empowered to love others. But much like my contribution this week is just a small part of the whole, I realize Vacation Bible School week is just a small part of the larger whole. Every week our parishioners – children, youth, and adults – are living out their vocations every day. They are teaching children, building homes, healing bodies, fighting fires, studying for tests, and holding each other’s hands as faithful children of God. There are holy moments every week, every day, every hour, every minute, where we live into the gifts God has given us, and show God’s love to others. Our witness to Christ does not happen unless we are all doing are part as the Body of Christ.
I wonder where you are seeing God and the work of the Body of Christ today. At home, at work, at play, we can all see God working through each other. Our invitation this week is to look for that work, to be a part of that work in our own lives, and to witness where we see that work in others. My suspicion is once we start doing that work, we will be smiling as God has been smiling this week!