In the Rob Reiner film, Stand By Me, three adolescent (or close to it) young men go on the search for a body that was reported to be in the woods outside of their small town. Yes, it was a human body and not a body of water. I will not focus on how the body got there. Nor will I elaborate on some of the language in the movie. I will simply say …they are adolescent boys on a trek and camp out in the woods. You do the math. Let’s just make this a parable and keep it as simple as possible.
The Church is the body of Christ according to the apostle Paul. It is to be a living body as opposed to the dead one previously referred to. With apologies to William Barclay who said parables were intended by Jesus to convey one point. I would like to convey two.
First, many people today are searching for The Body – this being a body of living believers and not a dead one. I personally don’t believe that a body of living believers is always one that rattles the walls with music, where the pastor runs the aisles so much that the carpet has to be replaced every year, and Pastor Crossing signs are strategically located throughout the sanctuary. I don’t have a problem with churches that are enthusiastic. But don’t declare a church dead because they are quiet and contemplative. A church that is the living body of Christ is genuine…real. They don’t try to be other churches. They are true to the gospel and accept that they aren’t all alike and that’s okay. So, in your search for The Body, find the place where you are welcomed and most importantly where you can worship and serve.
Second, people are searching for a living body where they are accepted and appreciated even though there could be differences of opinion. Someday soon people are going to start attending church like we used to and we will have guests who come to worship with us. Some of these are looking for a church home, and some are visiting with parents or other relatives or friends. If they are looking for a church home we don’t offer a prepackaged sales pitch. But instead we get to know their names and we treat them as one of us even after they join here or if they decide to make their ministry headquarters at one of our other fine congregations in the community. We will have those with differing Christian, social, and cultural views and we will definitely have a sinner or two hundred. Our job is not to act as judge and jury but to be the welcoming smile of Jesus, to have the compassionate heart of our savior and to display the empathy, mercy, and understanding of God in the flesh whenever someone comes to seek The Body. We keep these words of our savior in mind as we welcome saints and sinners to PSBC because we are hopefully a place where people can find some welcomed healing, encouragement and discernment as together we seek the heart of God.
“It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:12-13
The body of Christ is an intriguing theological concept with numerous insights and applications. So you may hear more about this later. But for now I will close with this final thought: As people search for The Body may we be found among the living.
God bless you Poplar Springs!