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..Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
- 1st Cor 12:12-13, 27
As I sit and reflect upon this passage I cannot help but notice the similarities it has on the new journey of my life in Japan. I am striving to act and to serve out God’s mission in a new country, each and every day, but falling short of what that truly means. All too often in life we tend to wonder: "What is my place? What is my calling? How do I fit into this world?" We strive to act like others, and do the good deeds we already see being accomplished, but is that the best way to minister to others? When God created the body he did not make all the parts of the body equally capable of accomplishing the same task, but rather gave each body part an individual responsibility and gift. Each part was given a different task; the ears to hear the word, the eyes to see the Light of the world, and the hands to do God’s work amongst the people. Each part is equally important to maintain a functioning human body.
While in Japan I see the works of other missionaries and the programs they have implemented. I meet pastors, administrators, interpreters and Sunday school teachers and often wonder to myself, "if I did that job would I be helping the Japanese church to grow?" Then I hear God telling me that that is not what I was called to do. I was called to Japan to be an English teacher, to share MY gift of language with the people who need it. We each have our own gifts, however small or insignificant they might seem to us. To someone who is in desperate need of what we have to share, it could mean the world. The body of Christ - you and me, each one equally important and necessary to make up the church in the world. Some are meant to be teachers, some are meant to minister in word and sacrament, others are called to listen to the cries of a broken world. May God bless us, hand, foot, mouth and ears!
Gracious God, thank you for creating each of us with unique gifts and skills to share to build up the Body of Christ. Help us to appreciate our differences as we work together for the benefit of all. Guide us, with your mercy and forgiveness, on the paths you have set before us to draw us ever closer to you. Amen.