Original post at http://trinityumchurch.blogspot.com/2012/12/no-charicacature.html
"For Just As The Body Is One And Has Many Members, And All Are Members Of The Body, So It Is With Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Have you ever had a caricature done of yourself? You know, those portraits they do at amusement parks and fairs? A Caricature is usually marked by having a large head and will focus on some prominent feature of a person. They are overblown in order to embody the person. If someone is known for having slightly larger than normal ears, they are given the ears of Dumbo in the drawing. If you have a prominent jaw it will become four times as large.
These Caricature can be so popular they actually form the predominate image we have of that person. When Jimmy Carter was in office he was commonly drawn with a huge smile. That smile became, at the time, synonymous with the person. Jay Leno, wouldn't be Jay Leno if he isn't portrayed with that prominent Jaw.
I've never had a caricature done of myself, and I'm sure I never will. Those caricatures are rarely flattering. They often magnify one's worse feature. I've never seen the value in paying someone to make fun of me.
Today's Scripture reminds us that the church is the body of Christ. As we read through this chapter it also becomes clear this isn't a metaphor or a simile. Jesus actually sees the church as His body and it's expected to operate that way.
We may be familiar with this passage or at least the term "The Body Of Christ". I fear though that many of us when we hear this term have in our heads not a body but a Caricature. We think of the church and we allow a part of the body to take preeminence . It's the feature the church is known by. For many that's the pastor. Or a popular teacher or leader in the church. Someone who is "on stage" quite a bit. Someone everyone knows.
But Jesus has a much more balanced understanding of the church. Everyone, all of their gifts, are equally important. The church is not just the pastor. The church is all the people who gave money, took time from work, gave up time with others, to pay and pack 500 boxes for Bethlehem on Broad so families will be able to eat this Christmas. It's the people who came this past week and spent untold hours decorating the church so their church family can celebrate Advent. It's the many folks who will bring flowers to shut ins over the holidays. It's the men and women who regularly gather together to pray for our church.
It's children who lead us in worship, who acolyte, often trembling for the first time. Its the middle school kids wanting to visit a friend who is sick. It's the Youth who gave up part of their weekend to buy gifts for someone they didn't know. It's meals cooked and pizzas baked for the hungry. It's the people who greet you at church, who often offer the first kind word some have heard all week. It's the band, and our choirs, who come mostly as volunteers to lead us in worship every week. It's instruments played, bells rung, voices raised.
It's the person who leaves an endowment to the Foundation for sure. But it's also the child who faithfully brings their quarter every week for Sunday School. The amazing thing is the Angels gather in Heaven and rejoice in both equally.
It's cards made and sent to lift some one's spirits, its a church family that often beats the clergy to someone hospital bed to pray and visit. It's people who join Stephens Ministry and love others often at some incredibly unlovable moments of life. It's the arms that gather around the grieving widow or those who lead a grief class. It's adults and youth who both lead an education event. It's you and me. That's the church.
If I missed you, and what you have done in the church, in this blog my apologies. Please accept this today as our thank you for being the church. You don't always get the recognition you deserve. But trust me. God notices. And he rejoices. And we do as well.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones