Our thanks to Brendan Armitage, our guest devotioneer this week.
“One bread, one body, one Lord of all / One cup of blessing which we bless, And we, though many, throughout the earth / We are one body in this one Lord. Gentile or Jew / Servant or free / Woman or man / No more…” (from One Bread One Body by John Michael Talbot)
We’re in that “questioning” phase of life. If you have older “kids”, you know what I mean. If you have little kids, you might think I mean “questioning” like “Why is the sky blue?”, “Why did our doggie have to die?” and my favorite, “Why did _____ get to have another cookie?” No. My kids are in that stage when they make a statement, followed by a question as in, “Church is stupid. Why do I have to go?” While we go back-and-forth in a fairly complicated answer, at the end we always come back to, “Because religion, and specifically Christianity, will help you.”
Christianity will provide you with the strength to take on the tough times of depression and loneliness that we all know will find us at some point in our lives. (The Covid pandemic has taught us that much.). Christianity will vaccinate you from the symptoms of doubt and despair. It allows you to continue to see the good in yourself and in other people around you, because of the love that God has for you and shows to you…everyday. Christianity provides you with the antibodies to secularism and atheism. It gives you people with whom you share faith. Words with which you can state that life must be more than just atoms and molecules and…stuff. We have faith that our lives have purpose.
We take-in that faith through our ears and through our eyes every week when we open our Bibles, when we find St. Peter’s Lutheran Church@Home on YouTube, when we find ourselves in the church parking lot Wednesday nights at 7pm for a brief service. We take the vaccine for doubt, for fear, and for anxiety, whenever we take in the Eucharist and hear these words, “This is My Body. Given for you.”. So be it. Amen.
Likewise, we may show our Christian faith when we roll up our sleeves. When we admit we are not an island unto ourselves, but that we are stewards of God’s good green earth, that we are shepherds to his flock, though we are also that flock as well. We roll up our sleeves to do God’s work, though it’s purpose may at times be beyond our understanding, but we know, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42 KJV). Amen.
So, we roll up our sleeves for many purposes. To repave the parking lot. To mow the grass. To clean the car. To take your vaccination. Vaccinations take many forms. Sometimes a sermon. Sometimes communion. Sometimes a shot in the arm. Vaccinations protect us from the symptoms of doubt and of disease. They are bulwarks to our faith. Vaccinations also protect others around us, the people who make themselves open to us, as fellow Christians in our church, in our community, in our society here and abroad. Vaccinations seem to stop the passing of contagion from one person to another. They help to keep us all safe.
So today, pray for the faith and the conviction to get your shot, as another aspect of our faith journey in this season of Lent. A congregation is a community of believers, a flock of sheep and of shepherds, and a body of Christ. You are part of that body. We worship together and we roll up our sleeves together, for we are one body in Christ.
Get your shot. Amen.