Thankfulness for those who serve
As we approach Veteran’s Day weekend, I’m feeling a particular thankfulness for those who have served in our armed services. We are blessed by the faithful attentiveness of so many of our women and men in uniform: and, to me, the hierarchical organization of the military provides an interesting comparison and foil for the Body of the church—while we do have Rectors, Bishops, and Presiding Bishops, we also have the enduring metaphor of the church as a Body, full of people with different gifts—where we all need one another. I could ask: in this Body, am I a part of the gut flora, or the bicep, or the eye, or something else entirely? What are my gifts and what are my particular formative experiences? And, what capabilities have come out of those gifts and experiences? Divine compassion can send us forth in surprising ways: ways that we may not even fully understand until later. To me, it’s all a reminder that God’s strength doesn’t adhere to our individualistic assumptions. God specializes in making use of our brokenness, to move the church and the world toward greater wholeness.
Psalm 146 embodies this communitarian ideal:
“Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them…. Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! Whose hope is in the Lord their God”