Hand Bells, Quilts, and Stained Glass Windows Sermon
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (12) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (13) For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (14) Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. (15) If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. (16) And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. (17) If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? (18) But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (19) If all were a single member, where would the body be? (20) As it is, there are many members, yet one body. (21) The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." (22) On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, (23) and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; (24) whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, (25) that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. (26) If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (27) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Second Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. (10) For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. (11) Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? (12) And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A Rope of three strands is not easily broken..
MESSAGE. Handbells, Quilts, and Stained Glass Windows.
We have a great visual representation of the church of Jesus Christ in our sanctuary today, thanks to the Simsbury Methodist Hand Bell Choir. Right here, in our sanctuary we have visual and audible Metaphor for the Church
The Handbell choir-‘on being a ringer’. Interviews w/ Jen Acheson and Bob Shea
Jen A. Responsible for 2 or 4 bells, notes but no melody, 2 naturals with two sharp/flats
As an individual, you are ringing your bells about 80% of the time, you don’t always have the melody or lead part, but you are ringing in support of the lead voice, complementing what others are doing.
Its an amazing feeling contributing small part to something beautiful that touches others
In 2007, Bob Shea, spoke about playing in the Bell Choir in the context of a stewardship campaign. Here is what he said:
“with only a couple of notes to play, I learned the joy of producing a complete live piece of music with a group. I continue, not just because of an obligation to the church, but because I enjoy making music with a group. I share the melody when it might pass by my bells, I add a little to the harmony of larger chords, and I stay silent when it’s not my turn, and I get to listen to the larger, complete, music. You may have received the stewardship letter for the year, and with it the list of some opportunities for service. I encourage you to find something simple to participate with – greeter, reader, teacher, cook, singer, carpenter. Nothing is overly difficult or more demanding that you want it to be. Your addition may be small, only a couple of notes, but the overall assembly of the parts can be a symphony.”
If The church is like a Hand bell Choir, What part can you ring? What melody can you make? What harmony can you add?
The Block Island Quilt
Every year (for a number of years) local quilters have produced the Block Island Quilt. Each quilt is unique. Each one is made of a myriad of different patches and patterns. Each one represents the collaboration of a group of people to accomplish a ministry goal. It represents a process of people coming together for something important. Each finished product will touch the life of others. I spoke with a quilter about this process.
Observations On Making a quilt: (Jan Baker):
Measure design, cut carefully
Lots of checks along the way
Sewed piece by piece
Nothing happens fast
Batting with backing
Sew through to attach front to back; tying it all together.
6 & ½” square – some are solid pieces of fabric, some are mini-quilts in and of themselves comprised of needlework and different piece of material.
Certain people like to do different parts of the process. Some like to measure and cut; some like to sew together the individual squares, some like to assemble finished front with backing and batting.
The team process itself reflects the product
God is the master Quilter. But He’s making a quilt that all about quilters. If his quilt were up here, it would probably picture many quilters working together to make another quilt. Each of us can contribute to the finished product.
If The church is like a quilt: What stitch can you sew? What pattern can you create?
Stained glass Windows.
The Glass and the Colors.
Most colors in the environment are created by the way objects selectively absorb or reflect some wavelengths of light. But in the case of things transparent, like liquids and glass, color is created by selective transmission. These substances stop some frequencies while allowing others to pass through. When these reach our eyes, we interpret them as different colors.
We are not the light itself. We are the stained glass through which the light of Christ shines, each transmitting a unique color that reflects who we are.
Some window simply transmit the light through colors, shapes and patterns… Others tell a story, like the ones in our sanctuary. And Each of us has our own unique story to tell. Each of us can transmit the light of Christ to others through the lens of our own personality, talents, passions, and life experience. Later this year we will offer a SHAPE Discovery group. Look for this opportunity to explore your God-Given shape.
The Copper Foil and the Solder.
The foil fills in the small gaps between the pieces of glass, to make them fit better together. Then the flux and the solder are applied to hold the whole thing together and make it one unified work.
If The church is like a Stained Glass Window, What color can you reflect? What can you do to bind it together into one unified whole?
Mosaics (optional material)
One piece alone may not look like much - A tessera (plural: tesserae) is an individual tile, usually formed in the shape of a cube, used in creating a mosaic. Collectively, they can convey a powerful image
If The church is like a Mosaic, What bit can you be? Which piece of the design fits you best?
1Cor 12 Body of Christ:
- One of many that make one
- Different isn’t better or worse (greater than or less than)
- We need each other
- We all have a unique role/ contribution
- If one suffers, all suffer
- If one is lifted up, all rejoice
Some of us may not thing of ourselves as hands or feet- we may feel more like elbows or armpits! But the arm would be almost useless if it weren’t able to bend with the flexibility that each joint supplies.
If The church is like a body, which part are you? What can you do to add unity? What can you bring to its purpose? What contribution can you make to its well-being and function?
Finally, we have several Proverbs from Ecclesiastes chapter.4 that add some further insights into what the church can be in all its fullness. –
- Assistance. Helping each other up when we fall
- Generating heat- getting fired up! Contagious enthusiasm.
- Strength in Numbers. Three is better than two is better than one. Collective strength – A Rope of three strands is not easily broken.A petition, an advocacy group, a ministry to the unfortunate. An outreach to the oppressed.
If The church is like a Rope, What Strength can you add to it? How can you multiply your ministry efforts by combining with other, like-minded people.
In the words of the old childhood rhyme:
The church is not building, the church is not a steeple.
The church is not a resting place, the church is a people.
I am the church, you are the church, we are the church, together.