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       Sermons | Passionate worship

      This sermon was preached by Pastor Keith Cardwell at Swift Presbyterian Church.

      Jan. 27, 2019 | Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

      Head, Body and Legs
      1 Corinthians 12:14–27

       I  REALLY LIKE THE LIBERIAN FOLK TALE we just watched. How much better it was for the head to have arms and legs and body. The head was limited in what it could do. Rolling around, eating off the ground. It took the arms and legs and body and head working together to reach the mango and enjoy its deliciousness.

      The story fits nicely with Paul’s analogy of the church. Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts.

       † † † 

      OVER THE COURSE of this very long week, I have witnessed the body of Christ at work in many different ways.

      ■ On Monday, Lynn Aspray came to the office to pay bills and make the deposit. I received a phone call from a woman named Misty. She called around church to church, organization to organization, looking for help. Her husband was in South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. She was in northern Alabama and was coming by bus to see him. She needed a ride from Mobile to Foley. I felt assured that the body of Christ contained someone with the gift of time and transportation to pick her up. Eliza from Baldwin County Food for Thought stepped up. I went to the hospital to meet her husband, Donny, and to pray with him.

      Monday night, the body of Christ known as Swift Church elders met fulfilling their vows of serving Christ through their ordained office. Using energy, intelligence, imagination and love in reviewing last year and planning for God’s future for us.

      ■ Eight or nine Swift folks attended a small-church forum in Mobile on Tuesday. We learned how to increase financial support for the church. We’ll review that information. That same day we provided support to pay a utility bill with money that you gave to our pastor’s discretionary fund.

      ■ Gifted people surrounded the Akins family with prayer as they grieved the death and burial of Tim’s mother. Tuesday night, as I was in Spanish Fort meeting with members of Christ’s body using their gifts to bolster UKirk campus ministry at USA, other parts of Christ’s body gathered at Mike and Lynn Barnwell’s, having just heard that Mike’s dad, Sam, had died. The choir was at church, rehearsing and also praying.

      Wednesday morning, Susie and Bob Alexander bagged food and lovingly passed out nearly 30 bags of groceries that you provided or that Tresa Melton purchased at the grocery on your behalf. Included in that were donated Michigan apples delivered to the church by Daryl and Susan Pichoff.

      ■ I went to visit with Mike and Lynn that afternoon. June and Robbie James were there offering help with Sam’s belongings.

      ■ Karl and Brenda and Jody Beth were at the cardiologist’s office at the same time I was in the late afternoon. The body of Christ concerned for my health even as they were there concerned about Brenda’s. While I was getting checked on at the doctor, Joe Walden offered to help Misty and Donny (just released from the hospital) get to a shelter in Pensacola. Unfortunately, they refused the help. Pastor Jody Beth went to SBRMC to check on Carrie Cresap following her surgery. Her deacon, Martha Young, checked on her on Thursday.

      ■ Also on Thursday, Pastor Jody Beth led a Bible study while Betty Sizemore, Mimi and Johnny Hollis folded bulletins.

      Friday I was blessed with birthday cards in the mail and birthday blessings via Facebook and text message as the body of Christ celebrated my birthday.

      Yesterday, a large portion of the body of Christ gathered at Mike and Lynn’s home to celebrate the life of Sam Barnwell. The body cooked. The body grieved. The body offered words of comfort. The body of Christ in abundance sharing life, telling stories, catching up on each other’s lives. Children played. Free hugs everywhere.

       † † † 

      THAT BRINGS US TO TODAY. We see the results of people working behind the scenes. The liturgy was put together by Sue Ann Lay. Pastor Jody Beth is preaching at Grace Presbyterian in Mobile. Cheryl Jensen and the Pichoffs prepared to teach adult classes, Tara Morrow the youth, and Pate and Brett Cardwell for teaching the children. Jenni selected and rehearsed music. Lisa leading congregational singing and later the choir. Bridgit prepared the projection. Al and Marvin running the sound.

      Don’t forget the ministry of Kathy Menk and her office work. Plus greeters and the expressed joys of gathering today for worship. Then there are those who brought snacks for Sunday school class or for fellowship following worship.

      This week the body has also prayed for Mandy Hill, Debbie McBride’s daughter, for Karen Croxell, for Martha Young’s niece, for me.

       † † † 

      THIS IS JUST WHAT I know and have seen of the body of Christ sharing their gifts for the common good. Each important. I know there is so much more sharing gifts that I know nothing about. And don’t have to know. But I know this:

      If one part of the body suffers,
      all the other parts suffer with it;
      if one part is praised,
      all the other parts share its happiness.
      All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.

      Thanks be to God.

      — Keith Cardwell   

      «Christ is like a single body, which has many parts;
      it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts.»

      Scripture for the day

      1 Corinthians 12:14–27
      Holy Bible, Today’s English Version

      14 The body is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. 15 If the foot were to say, “Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. 16 And if the ear were to say, “Because I am not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not keep it from being a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear? And if it were only an ear, how could it smell? 18 As it is, however, God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 There would not be a body if it were all only one part! 20 As it is, there are many parts but one body.

      21 So then, the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Nor can the head say to the feet, “Well, I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, we cannot do without the parts of the body that seem to be weaker; 23 and those parts that we think aren’t worth very much are the ones which we treat with greater care; while the parts of the body which don’t look very nice are treated with special modesty, 24 which the more beautiful parts do not need. God has put the body together in such a way as to give greater honour to those parts that need it. 25 And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. 26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

      27 All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.

      — The Word of God for the people of God.
      — Thanks be to God.

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      23208 Swift Church Road
      Foley, AL 36535
      Phone: (251) 943-8367


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