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Living as the body of Christ

HAVE you ever competed in a three-legged race?

You won’t see it on the program for the Olympic Games but you might get to see it at a church family picnic.

I wonder who came up with the idea that one body should be shackled to another racing against a whole lot of other awkward pairs.

Put the stop watch away and get out the laughter meter!

Sometimes the body of Christ looks as awkward as a threelegged race.

What might need to change in our worship, witness and service in the Uniting Church to become a healthy body of Christ as the apostle Paul described it?

Paul used the image of the body to help teach the people of God about the importance of every member being valued as part of the whole.

The contribution of each one is recognised and each is encouraged to play their part according to their giftedness.

An orchestra would not have a rich, full sound if it were just made up of loud brass instruments.

The first violinist may be the best player in strings but that player needs the support of all the strings to bring balance and mood into the performance.

We recognise that our denomination is only part of the whole body of Christ and so we put energy into building relationships with other denominations and expressions of the church.

Within the Uniting Church we have sought to celebrate that the Holy Spirit has endowed Christ’s Church with a diversity of gifts and that there is “no gift without its corresponding service”.

That means that lay and clergy, male and female, young and old, those born here and those from overseas have something to offer.

Congregations are like the skeleton of the church with some large strong bones and some tiny fragile ones.

Presbyteries are like joints and ligaments on the skeletal frame which help facilitate movement in mission.

The Uniting Church Schools, youth networks and Colleges are like strong leg muscles carrying young people forward in life and faith.

Blue Care services are like the blood vessels delivering caring services into the community; some large pulsating arteries of care and some tiny capillaries reaching isolated households on a lonely road.

Our hospitals are like cell repair systems restoring or replacing damaged parts and like the antibodies fighting off disease.

Prison ministries are like the fingertips gently touching damaged lives.

UnitingCare Community is like the lymphatic system helping the body to deal with crises and like the parts of the body that need special treatment and protection.

The Synod office is like the lungs that gather the oxygen and send it into the body to enable the body to do its work.

The hair is like the ventures of community engagement that pop up, sometimes in surprising places.

And, of course, Christ is our head.

At times it seems that parts of the Uniting Church do things without regard for the rest of the body.

How do we support the parts that are suff ering or damaged without inhibiting the movement of the whole?

Already some progress is being made to be organised for mission so that we are not so awkward (like in that threelegged race).

Already people are bringing their prayerful discernment so that we might not lose the way.

Being ‘together on the way’ means thinking about how our choices might aff ect the rest of the Church.

It means celebrating the magnificent diversity of the ways that the Uniting Church enriches communities all over Queensland.

Together, as the body of Christ, we can achieve so much.

Where’s the Moderator?

This month Rev Kaye Ronalds will be at many events including:

4 – 6 May Centenary celebration at Burdekin Uniting Church, Ayr

11 May Installation of the new Catholic Archbishop, the Most Rev Mark Coleridge, Brisbane

12 May Presbytery of South Moreton meeting

17 May Farewell function for Rev Dr Neil Sims, Trinity Theological College

25 May Finance Investment & Property board meeting

27 May Worship at Elanora