1 Corinthians 10:16-17 reads, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
Can you hear the familiar hymn we sing from this verse? Now imagine yourself in the pew. Listen to the voices surrounding you. That is your community – the community of our Lord present in our little towns. Amazing, isn’t it? Now, listen again. This time hear the individual voices that make the parish.
Recently I’ve begun taking notice of these individual voices: the unique voices that carry up through the pews during hymns and provide comfort and the steady voices that direct the Creed or the Lord’s Prayer and provide consistency. I find voices that surprise me in their strength and clarity, voices that send peace in their familiarity, and voices that I’ve never heard before. But the most amazing part of these individual voices, is how they all work together.
En masse, we are in communion. It is powerful and humbling. The many talents that comprise our parish and the amount of service provided is wonderful. From weekly masses to special events, from school needs to community outreach, and on all of the various councils, guilds, and groups, as individuals we work together. Participation in hymns, prayers, and the sharing of peace are all contributions to the parish community. There is no act too small. We are one Body.
But, what if… What if we could grow this community and carry these acts of participation beyond scheduled meetings and masses? Let us build a house where love can grow, and all can safely live. A place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, Rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ will end divisions: All are welcome… in this place”!
Let’s challenge each other and ourselves to extend our parish, our talents, and our gifts to all. Let’s create a dynamic community with Christ at the center. Let’s be the village we want our children to learn from and grow in. Let’s invite more guests to supper at our tables and to worship with us. May the Church doors be constantly opened because the prayers offered in our pews never cease.
I have never felt as welcomed in a community, a church, or a family as I have in ours. I have never had a need go unanswered, nor have I felt shame in expressing that need. I pray that I may always extend that warmth and love in every way possible. The gift of love from our Heavenly Father cannot be contained, it must be shared with our Brothers and Sisters.
If you are looking for way to devote your talents to the community, please contact your parish office for a list of committee vacancies and servant opportunities. All are welcome.
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.