Vegetable Soup, A Crazy Quilt, Trail Mix, United States of America, Smorgasbord; what do all of these have in common?
Each one requires a number of different things to make the whole or the sum.
Take vegetable soup, for instance. It’s made up of a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery and maybe even a beef soup bone. It is slowly simmered in liquid, salted and peppered, and after a few hours, it becomes soup. Each one of the ingredients is good by itself, but all together they create a hearty and savory winter meal.
Then, imagine a quilt; in particular, a crazy-patch-quilt. You can choose colors from blue, red, pink, yellow, green and maybe even some orange or purple; lovely cotton fabrics in solids or pretty little prints, calicoes and checks. Each is lovely. All put together with tiny and careful, perfect stitches and an heirloom has been created.
And Trail Mix. Well, that one is easy. Trail mix is generally a collection of dried fruit and a lot of nuts. No further explanation is needed here beyond recognizing the sweet fruits and the salty nuts! Sounds like a family to me!
Now, look to the United States. We are fifty separately-bordered communities called States. We have people from every walk of life, nationality, color, size and shape. Most of us speak “English”, and yet we don’t. We have accents and diction and crazy-speak and trash-talk. We have deserts and beaches, frigid conditions and sunny skies, mountains and sand dunes, prairies and dense forests. But the sum of all the parts makes up this land of the free and the home of the brave!
If life gives you lemons, make lemon-aide. It life hands you scraps, make quilts. These aren’t original, but they are good lessons.
The Scriptures teach us ‘to come out of the world’ and yet ‘forsake not the assembling of yourselves’. Read Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. And in Hebrews, 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Our Christian gatherings are these smorgasbords of many parts. The Church isn’t a building or a fancy cathedral. The Church is the Body of Christ; the body or collection of believers. We are black and white, brown and yellow, red and tan. We are rich and poor and we are male and female.
No one, no not one of us, is perfect, yet together we make up an amazing force.
Have you ever made a chocolate cake? Your basic recipe calls for cocoa, eggs, oil, liquid, salt, baking powder, vanilla and flour. Now, if you make this cake with only 2 teaspoons of flour, it’s going to be a soupy mess! If you leave out the baking powder, the cake will be flat and with no cocoa, your cake won’t be chocolate. However, all of these ingredients in appropriate portions make a scrumptious dessert.
The church is the sum of its parts. Not soupy or flat or flavorless. The church needs all of its parts to function as a whole. It needs all the cotton fabrics of every shape and design, every color under the sun. The church is made of all these differences; potatoes and carrots, calicoes and solids, chocolate and flour.
With all these differences, we still are one body; Jesus calls unto all of us. Listen, can you hear Him? He’s calling out in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So very simply, The Message tells us, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are taken from the King James Version.
© 2014 Cat Brennan