Scar Stories

I preached this sermon this morning at the Chapel at the Durham VA. My Text was 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23. What a blessing.

When I was six, I had an airplane. I had flown it many times before and not had any troubles. One day, in spite of all my practice, I fell out of my airplane, and hit my head on a coffee table. I have the scar to prove it. Now, before you go disbelieving me, let me reassure you. I built the airplane. It was a toy from my childhood that was PVC pipes and connectors. Your imagination was your limitation. And one day my imagination let me fly right out of my seat and whomp and whoops and I needed stitches.

This scar here above my eye is a sign that I am not whole. It gives me character. It is part of what makes me who I am. I have a mark on me where I have been in contact with the world, and the world fought back. I’ve collected other scars, and they each have a story. The stories from my scars build up who I am and what I am as a person.

I imagine that here in this place, each of us has scars. Each of our scars gives us character. I wonder how many stories we could tell about them. I wonder how many of us want to forget some of those stories.

When I came to this bible passage, I was concerned about how my body would be a temple of God when I didn’t consider myself whole. I don’t know if I can take the responsibility for God’s Spirit to dwell in me if I have all my brokenness and scars, both on the outside and on the inside.

I can’t do that by myself! I don’t have the strength, or the courage, or the ability to hold all that in!

But then I realized that this is not about me alone. This is about you, and you, and you, and me. This is about us, and a community, as a group, and a church.

You belong to Christ, and Christ works in you because you are God’s temple where God’s Spirit dwells. In southern, it should say, “Y’all belong to Christ, and Christ works in y’all because y’all are God’s temple where God’s Spirit dwells.”

What a relief! I don’t have to hold it all in. And neither do you. In the midst of the tests, in spite of the scars, God has chosen us as a place to dwell in. God has chosen us as a community of faith, from all our backgrounds, and from all our different experiences as a place where the Spirit flows and lives and breathes and works the will of God.

Because of our individual brokenness, God’s glory shines through the cracks.

God uses our individual brokenness, and God takes all our human foolishness and uses it in his wisdom. God’s Spirit works through us.

It is because we are a body, joined together in worship, that we are a temple of God. God uses our community of worship to build each other up. We may look broken—we each have our individual scars and fears and angers and hurts and pains—but we belong to Christ. We are Christ’s Church. We have the blessing of Christ living in the midst of us where we are.

As Christ’s holy temple, we are blessed by the presence of Christ and we are made more holy because this is Christ working in us. We each give of ourselves to build up the temple; we each give of ourselves to build up this community. When we found ourselves on Christ and the wisdom of God that is perfect, we become that place where God yearns to be.

You belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Amen.

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