One Body with Many Members
“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. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
(1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
A candidate for church membership was once asked, "What part of the Bible do you like best?" He said: "I like the New Testament best. Then he was asked, "What Book in the New Testament is your favorite?" He answered, the Book of the Parables, Sir." They then asked him to relate one of the parables to the membership committee. And a bit uncertain, he began...
"Once upon a time a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and the thorns grew up and choked the man. And he went on and met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave that man, Sir, a thousand talents of silver, and a hundred changes of raiment. And he got in his chariot and drove furiously, and as he was driving along under a big tree, his hair got caught in a limb and left him hanging here! And he hung there many days and many nights. The ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink. And one night while he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair, and he fell on stony ground. And it began to rain, and rained forty days and forty nights. And he hid himself in a cave. Later he went on and met a man who said, "Come in and take supper with me." But he said, "I can’t come in, for I have married a wife." And the man went out into the highways and hedges and compelled him to come in! He then came to Jerusalem, and saw Queen Jezebel sitting high and lifted up in a window of the wall. When she saw him she laughed, and he said, "Throw her down out of there," and they threw her down. And he said "Throw her down again," and they threw her down seventy-times-seven. And the fragments which they picked up filled twelve baskets full! NOW, whose wife will she be in the day of the Judgment?" The membership committee agreed that this was indeed a knowledgeable candidate!
Now to set the record straight, church membership does not depend on some kind of superior biblical knowledge (fortunately for the man in the story above!), or even superhuman faith. Church membership is simply the acceptance of a gracious invitation to become a part, or a member, of the body of Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less.
As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12, the human body – though one – nevertheless has many members or parts. And so it is with the church, the body of Christ, as well. Though we are many, we are part of one body – the body of Christ. Though we are all different, we all have a unique part or role to play.
Writing again, a little later in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul notes: “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.”
This month, between the worship services – on May 6, 13, and 20 – I will be offering a new member orientation for those interested in joining Hope Lutheran Church. It’s not a class and there’s nothing to learn. Consider it simply an invitation to come and see, to come and hear, what being a member at Hope is all about! Whether you’ve already decided, or just want to check things out, come and hear the Hope story and what it mean to be a Lutheran Christian in Freehold, NJ.
Most of all, I want you to know that there’s place for you here at Hope!
And so, if you know that you want to participate, give the church office a call
(732-462-7545) to let us know, or send an email to HopeLutheran17@gmail.com.
Or if you only decide last minute to just drop in; that’s absolutely no problem whatsoever. I hope to see you then!