Preparing for Worship: The Body Needs the Body

Preparing for Worship: The Body Needs the Body

John Haralson   •   April 21, 2017

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 
The Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 12:12-14


Dear Friends,

A pulipt-swap between a PCA and a PCUSA congregation; who would have thought such a thing was possible?

One of the wonderful things God is doing in our midst is building ties between us and other worshiping congregations in our neighborhood. As many of you know, we have a growing relationship with First AME Church on 14th & Madison. Like many of you, I am looking forward to seeing how those bonds strengthen in the future.

Another congregation that God is connecting us with is Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, which worships on Harvard Avenue behind Seattle Central. Though we are both Presbyterian churches, we are from different denominations which have some significant theological and cultural differences. 

Yet, in Christ, we are connected to this congregation. We are part of the same body, and that body is Christ’s. Though there are things that we see differently, we have more in common with them than we disagree with them about.

And, it is actually a gift for both congregations to learn how to appreciate the unique ministry God has given each church. They have strengths that we do not have, and vice-versa. Each congregation has a role to play in Christ’s work here in Seattle. 

The writer of Hebrews urges us to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”. That applies to congregations as well as individual Christians. I think it is possible for congregations to maintain their unique, God-given identities and, at the same time, grow in relationships with other churches in a manner that actually inspires and encourages both congregations towards the kingdom work God has called them.

In other words, the body needs the body.

This Sunday, we are doing a “Pulpit Swap” with Capitol Hill Presbyterian. Their Pastor, Rev. James Kearny, will be preaching God’s word to us, and I will be preaching to their congregation. My hope is that this will be one very concrete way for our churches to grow in mutual respect and appreciation for one another. The body needs the body.

This Sunday: I John 4:16-18, Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

Liturgy is here

Warmly in Christ,

John

PS This Sunday, there will be a new sermon time activity during the first service for children up to 8 years old. Barb Shackleford will be leading a “Children in Worship” time this Sunday. It should be a gift to children who aren’t quite ready to sit through a sermon.

PPS This Sunday at 10:30am, Debbie Smith will be leading our adult Christian Formation class on the topic of Living with Easter Hope. Easter is the birthplace of hope, and it has powerful implications for our day-to-day lives, but in a world filled with skepticism and often cynicism, hope can seem unrealistic or even foolish. The powerful claim of the resurrection is that we have a living hope in the midst of the reality of every circumstance of our lives, no matter how dark or seemingly hopeless. We hope you will join us in spending time reflecting on the reality of our hope as followers of Jesus and also entering into a time of solitude and conversation with God about your own relationship with hope.