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AfterWords | A Shared Belonging (August 7, 2022)

Ordinary Time 2022
1. Ordinary Time | Mercy Makes a Shared Humanity (July 10, 2022)
2. AfterWords | Woof! It’s Warm in Here (July 10, 2022)
3. Ordinary Time | Christ the Key (July 17, 2022)
4. AfterWords | What’s In Your Blender? (July 17, 2022)
5. Ordinary Time | A Shared Identity (July 24, 2022)
6. AfterWords | Welcome To The Table (July 24, 2022)
7. Ordinary Time | A Shared Belonging (August 7, 2022)
8. AfterWords | A Shared Belonging (August 7, 2022)
9. Ordinary Time | A Shared City (August 14, 2022)
10. Ordinary Time | A Shared Meal (August 21, 2022)
11. AfterWords | An Imaginative Exercise on the Walk to Emmaus (August 21, 2022)
12. AfterWords | First House Church Sunday (August 28, 2022)

AfterWords is a series of community-contributed reflections intended to further the conversations that begin during Parish sermons.

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A 3-Minute Read
by Amy Hoyle

We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which (God) has the final say in everything. 1 Corinthians 12:12–13 (MSG)

I have always known physical limitation. I was born with a neurological disability that affects my walking gait. Though I always had great need, I had a greater amount of moxie.

I gave my life to the Lord at age six. While I was part of the body of Christ, I often insisted on doing for myself. Pride had a deep hold, and I spent many years proving, pushing, striving.

Truthfully, it wasn’t until 2018, when my ovarian cancer returned, that God insisted I stop my foolish behavior and accept help. He gave me the vision of a big toe, hopping around, detached from the body, and then said, “That’s you.” Then He let me know from that point forward, anytime anyone wanted to help me, my only response would be,“Yes, thank you.”

And you know, the years that followed have been so amazing. After 40+ years of rejecting help, I began to learn full surrender. And in surrender, I saw how vital it is—for our health, the health of the church, and the health of our witness—to be one in Christ.

First Corinthians 12 speaks on spiritual gifts and the collective body of Christ. In his message Sunday, I loved Jordan’s reminder that we belong to God and we belong to each other. Both must be true. The Lord’s prayer begins with OUR Father, and the spiritual health of each individual is vital to this community.

In Christ we have a shared belonging, a shared family, a shared commitment.

Though I am weak, in Christ I am strengthened. And connecting to the full body of Christ has strengthened the unlimited love, grace, and gifts of God.

Last year I underwent chemo for recurrent ovarian cancer. The night before my fourth chemo, I was uncertain I would be healthy enough for treatment, and the weight of living in the waiting made me so anxious. All I needed from God that Friday was to hold me. To feel His nearness. I was at the end of myself, having exhausted all striving and resources. There was nothing I could control or fix.

God restored my body to receive treatment, and even sweeter was the miracle of the body of Christ.

The day of my fourth treatment, Scott and I received a text from a dear group of believers who had been praying and wanted to show tangible support and care by committing to contribute towards our medical debt. Amid tears, we gave ALL GLORY TO GOD! We had declared God in control of all provision, and it came through the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of the body of Christ.

That’s the beauty of believers, united by the Holy Spirit. The more we understand ourselves as dependent and vulnerable, the more we are open to love.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. 1 Corinthians 12:25–31 (MSG)

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