Grace and Peace to you, Dear Church,
from God and from our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Amen
How are you at Math? Or as they say in the UK, “Maths?” Me? Not so good… In light of my lack of mathematical skills, here are some easy questions for you. You can pull out your calculator if you need to because, contrary to your elementary school teachers, most of you really do walk around with calculators in your pocket every day. Are you ready? Keep your answers to yourselves, now!
#1) 100 - 99= ____ #2) 39 + X = 40 X= ___ #3) 0 + 3 - 2 = ___
The answer to all of these questions is: 1. Bonus points, after worship, if you can name the Bible stories and theological concepts which inspired these questions. In case you haven’t guessed by now, today is sponsored by the number, “1.”
Today’s scripture reading is a pivotal moment in Paul’s Letter to the Church in Ephesus. Just before these verses, the Apostle Paul reminded his readers, both Jew and Gentile, that they were all God’s chosen, children. He reminded them that they now lived united with Christ and united with one another through God’s grace and love.
Now, Paul urges his readers to live into the persons God has called them to be. Though each one of them were called as a unique individuals with gifts to share, each was also called to unity or “oneness” in Jesus Christ. Paul uses this word, “one,” seven times in this reading: “one body,” “one Lord,” “one Spirit,” “one God,” “one hope,” “one faith,” and “one baptism.” 7, the perfect number. So they say, anyway…
Paul explains that not only is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in one, but together we are one. We are one in Christ Jesus our Lord. Together, we are one for the building up of the church. Together, we are one for the thriving of the church.
So how are we doing church? Are we one? Well, sometimes we are and sometimes we aren’t. Sometimes the math just doesn’t add up. For instance: 99 solutions for 1 problem, 1 congregation with 40 visions for ministry, 1 leader, Jesus Christ, and three committees who refuse to follow.
It’s like the old joke: “How many Lutherans does it take to change one light bulb?” The answer: “No one knows. Lutherans don’t like change!” Yes, Dear Church, all of this “one-ness,” does not always a church make. But the Holy Spirit does a church make.
Dear Church, the math may not always add up but we are one. We are one in the Spirit and we are one in Jesus Christ. We are bound together, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in grace and love that never ends.
We are first made one by God who knit us together in our Mother’s womb. We are then made one with the Triune God and the people of God through the water and word of baptism. It is the Holy Spirit that calls each of us here.
It was the Holy Spirit that called Archer James here for Baptism this day. It is the Holy Spirit that gives each of us gifts to share, gifts Archer James received here this day. It is the Holy Spirit that sends each of us from here and, People of God, I can’t wait to see what God does in and through Archer in his life of faith, new life he received here, this day.
It is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we become one, here, in this Holy Place. May our hearts beat as one for the building up and the thriving of the church of God, here and everywhere. Amen.