Summary: Epiphany 3C: We fill many roles in the Body of Christ, but God fills the most important parts of brain, heart, and lungs.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ.
The carpenter’s tools had a meeting. Brother Hammer was the chair. The members informed him that he must leave, because he was too noisy. But Brother Hammer said, "If I am to leave this carpenter’s shop, Brother Gimlet must go, too; he is insignificant and makes a very small impression." (a gimlet is a tool that makes a small hole)
Little Brother Gimlet arose and said, "All right, but Brother Screwdriver must go also. You have to turn him around and around and around to get anywhere with him."
Brother Screwdriver turned and said, "If you wish, I will go, but Brother Plane must leave also. All his work is on the surface; there’s no depth."
To this, Brother Plane leveled his reply, "Well, then, Brother Saw will have to depart. The changes he proposes cut too deep."
Brother Saw complained, saying, "Brother Ruler will have to withdraw if I do, for he is always measuring other folks as though he were the only one who is right."
Brother Ruler then surveyed the group and said, "Brother Sandpaper doesn’t belong here, either. He’s rougher than he ought to be, and is always rubbing people the wrong way."
In the midst of this discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He had come to perform his day’s work. He put on his carpenter’s apron and went to the workbench to make a pulpit. He employed the ruler, the saw, the plane, the hammer, the gimlet, the screwdriver, the sandpaper, and all the other tools.
When the day’s work was over, the pulpit was finished, and the carpenter went home. Brother Saw arose and said, "Brethren, I perceive that all of us are laborers together * with God."
All the accusations against each of these tools were absolutely true, yet the carpenter used every one of them. No matter which tool he used, no other tool could have done the work better.
We all are tools in God’s toolbox. Each of us has our task, our purpose, our gift to bring to God’s Church. Each gift is necessary for our life together.
This is the lesson the Apostle Paul brings us in the second lesson for today. Each one of us is part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Just like our bodies with their many parts, each congregation has members with a variety of functions. We can survive without some of them, but we may feel like we’re somewhat disabled.
Now consider for yourself: What part of the Body of Christ might you be? No matter who you are, no matter how old or how young, you are some part of the Body of Christ right here at (this church).
Maybe you feel like you might be the stomach— you enjoy occasions where the Church feeds you. Maybe you look forward to potluck dinners, like the one we’re looking forward to today, with all the good food that our parish cooks contribute. Or perhaps you look forward to the simple, satisfying fare at our Lord’s Supper. Maybe the nourishment you come for is in the sermon, or the music, or the fellowship that our parish provides.
However the stomach prefers to be fed, the stomach can’t keep the food all to itself. The stomach also has the responsibility to pass the nourishment along to the rest of the body, or after awhile the body will not be able to feed the stomach. The same is true of the Body of Christ. Those who are able to do the work of digesting the nourishment God provides have the responsibility of passing the benefits on to others.
Or perhaps you feel like you are the body’s hand. Your gift is doing something, whether that’s making quilts to keep others warm, or fixing things that don’t work quite the right way, or reaching out with a warm handshake, or keeping records for the administration of the congregation. All are important things that need to be done to keep the church functioning. Besides doing what needs to be done, seeing things running smoothly gives everyone a shot in the arm, so they can see with pride what our parish can accomplish, what this church can be.
Maybe you feel like you’re a foot. You like to get things going, and help set the direction of the congregation. But remember that the foot also must be strong enough to bear the weight of the whole body. And if the stomach has been pretty active... well, there might be a little extra weight to lug around. Maybe a little exercise is in order, to trim and tone the body. A foot can lead the way there, too.