During a recent Bible Study, I read Ephesians 4:1-16, and the passage brought up some thoughts about Marble
Memorial and our new vision. Let me share some verses with everyone to show what I am talking about here:
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep
the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
As the apostle Paul tends to do in most of his letters, he smacks us right in the face with some truth and calling us out. "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." So that everyone knows, he's not only talking to pastors but all Christians. Then comes the more difficult part; Paul tells us to be humble, gentle, patient, bearing, and do so with love. Ugh! Yes, we are called to do these things as well. Trust me, and I understand how some may feel about this part. Patience is a tricky thing for me, especially when I want to do something and be done with it! Then he writes that we need to keep unity through peace. We may not always agree on how things are done or what we are doing. I said this before, and I will repeat it, "That's ok!" As long as we do things with love and peacefully.
Paul continues by speaking of there being one body and one Spirit. John Wesley says this same thing by telling United Methodist that we don't have to agree on everything but should be of one mind, heart, and body.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Now, the apostle tells us that he gave us the evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip his people for service works. Thus, leading to the body being built up. In other words, it is not only the pastor's responsibility to guide people to build up the church. If we work together, then we will grow and reach a special kind of unity.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is
the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
I read this section to mean that if we can stop taking things personally and see that what we are doing is out of love, then the body will continue to grow. We must move forward and be united as we do so. We don’t want to forget the past or disrespect history, but our problems will not be resolved by sitting on our hands and doing nothing.
WE have to work together!
We attempted to organize some opportunities a couple of months ago to help our neighbors while we continued to navigate our way through the pandemic. Besides a few people who were already involved, I had two individuals talk to me after sharing that message. Yes, I know that there is still some concern regarding the virus. We are also getting closer to opening things up more. As we add tasks each time we open more up, we need more help. If we want to welcome new neighbors to the neighborhood, then we have to invite those not here already.
This conversation might be a boring conversation to some but answer this for me. Besides cosmetic changes from the Vital Church Initiative, tell me what has changed about Marble Memorial? What has been done to bring new members into the church? How many of those baptized or brought into membership are still at Marble? I share these thoughts and ask these questions not to be discouraging. Instead, I am trying to open our eyes to the situation around us.
“1 To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Jesus calls us to step and work together. Know that I write this piece out of love and wanting nothing but the best for Marble and God’s kingdom. Spend some time in prayer and see what God is putting on your heart after reading this article. And all of God’s people said, “Amen!”
Peace be with you, neighbors.