Laity Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020
“We Are the Church” by Terry Giles
Laity Sunday is a special Sunday defined by the General Conference “to celebrate the ministry of all Christians. Laity Sunday is one way we express the deep conviction that all are called to participate in God’s mission, not just clergy. We all live this calling through the ministries of our own church.
2020 has brought challenges to all parts of our life ~ including the church. In recent months our “rules of engagement” have been completely rewritten. New phrases have become the norm. “Masks required” ~ “social distancing” ~ “quarantine”. COVID-19 has created a new focus on church as well. In the mix of our embrace of/or resistance to live-stream services, Zoom committee meetings, on-line Bible studies, virtual VBS and drive-in church, attention has shifted from familiar experiences of worship in the sanctuary of our “church buildings” to forms of participation that extends well beyond those “walls”. One thing hasn’t changed and that is “WE ARE THE CHURCH”.
Just as God made our bodies with many different parts, he has given each of us different gifts that no one else has been given. We are each special and necessary when it comes to how we function in the church. Many things have changed in a short time. Change usually takes a long time and it usually doesn’t come all at once for everyone. I have always believed that God has a plan for each of us. I can’t see what his plan is with COVID, but maybe He is telling us, it is time to see opportunities and reach all the people, not just those who come to church. The way we carry out our mission is changing.
God has made us all different and unique. We need to accept our differences and recognize these differences are essential to the proper functioning of the whole. Our differences are not to create division among us. There are many parts because there are many needs. Without different parts, some needs would not be fulfilled.
While our bodies have a variety of parts ~ eyes, hands, ears, legs ~ each part contributes to the well being of the whole body. In order for our body to function properly, all the parts have to work together as a whole. When our body suffers illness or trauma, the affected parts no longer carry out their function. The body can continue to function, but not as a whole.
When it comes to the works of the church, we all have a purpose and each of us is important and essential in order for the church to function properly. God has uniquely created each of us and called us together as a team where everyone has something specific they can do. Often times a few members of the church fail to do their part and others then have to carry an unfair share of the load. We fail to give freely of our own unique talent. We wait for someone else to step forward instead of stepping out in faith and trusting God’s call. Covid has compounded this already exiting problem even further.
Laity Sunday is a time to celebrate the reality that WE ARE THE CHURCH. It is a time to name and proclaim the variety of ways in which your particular gift can be used for the good of all. It is a time to consider our call to be set apart for the ongoing work of Jesus Christ today’s changing world. It is also a time for each one of you to consider how you might serve more passionately as you use the gifts already identified, as well as consider what new gifts you are being called to develop.