This Sunday we continue our short 3-week series entitled Generation to Generation that looks at the beginnings of some of our most vibrant ministries, and how these ministries set a foundation for how future PB UMC members might continue in service to the community of Pacific Beach.
This Sunday’s worship brings a message from Pastor Christopher that celebrates the diversity of this congregation and reminds us that our diversity makes us more like the Kingdom of God. While we often consider our inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons a sign of our diversity, this congregation is also broadly inclusive of persons of various ethic, socio-economic, political, and religious backgrounds. Yet, together, we recognize that we are “the body of Christ and parts of each other.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (CEB)
12Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. 13We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 16If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body? 20But as it is, there are many parts but one body. 21So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22Instead, the parts of the body that people think are the weakest are the most necessary. 23The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we honor the most. The private parts of our body that aren’t presentable are the ones that are given the most dignity. 24The parts of our body that are presentable don’t need this. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.
Consider these questions:
- Consider the community in which you live (and if you don’t live in PB, please also consider who you see around the neighborhood when you come into this community.). What are the demographics of your community and/or the community of Pacific Beach?
- Consider your faith community here at Pacific Beach UMC. What are the demographics of our worshiping community?
- What are the differences/similarities between these two?
Post-sermon update on 9/12
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
Pastor Christopher’s message this past Sunday reflected not only on the history of PB UMC’s path to inclusion, but noted his understanding of the purpose of the congregation’s decision. The movement toward greater diversity – not just the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons 25 years ago, but the growing diversity we experience today including racial, political, and socio-economic – is not a practical decision, but a theological decision. We learn through Paul’s writing of the importance of diversity and make a theological decision toward inclusion of all God’s children.
Consider these questions:
- When have you experienced an absence of diversity? Think about the circumstances. What did that feel like physically, emotionally, spiritually?
- When have you experienced a strong sense of diversity? Again, think about the circumstances. What did this experience feel like physically, emotionally, spiritually?
- Contrast these two experiences. What can you learn from these experiences? Toward which of these kinds of experiences do you feel the most drawn?