We are better together

We are better together

Rev. Dan Hutchinson
Lessons from Tug of War at VBS

I wonder if you can recall the last time you played tug of war?

During VBS at game time, tug of war is a consistent favorite. The game begins with the kids divided in half, and on occasion, leaders or high helpers (youth volunteers) will join in. But perhaps what the kids love most is when they go up against the leaders. As the viewer, it looks like a modern-day David and Goliath. On one side, you have these tiny second or third graders, and on the other, the hulking adults with rippling muscles (OK, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the idea). And yet, more often than not, when the whistle is blown and everyone begins to pull, the kids not only hold their own… sometimes they actually win.

It is not because they are bigger or faster or stronger. There are simply more of them, and they are working together as a team.

Now this is, of course, an imperfect analogy, but it got me thinking about this time in our church’s life. Last winter, when the session of First Church got together to spend time in prayer and conversation, one of the themes that arose was togetherness: that we are better together.

This should come as no surprise. To be in Christ, to be part of the church, is to be called into the family of  God; into the body of Christ. The author of Hebrews puts it this way in chapter 10, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…” The invitation of Jesus is the invitation into community. We are better together! We are better when we worship together, better when we study the Word together, better when we serve together, better when we share a meal together, better when we cry and laugh together, better when we share our lives with one another. This is what it means to be the church. We are not meant to walk through this life on our own.

I believe that God has a vision for First Church. There is a mission for this church as it steps into the future… and we can only do this together, as the body. So here is my encouragement: Invest. Plug in. Get connected. Be faithful in worship. Find a place to serve. Find someone who needs connection and be the presence of Christ to them. Because we are better when we are together.

One final word on tug of war. There are times when the kids are overmatched; times when the adults are too strong. What often happens in these moments is that another leader steps in and grabs the rope, helping the kids to do what they cannot do on their own.

We are better together, but the work, the mission, the tasks before us are not our own. We do not do them by our own strength. It is Christ who works in us, by the Holy Spirit, to accomplish His will. To Him be the Glory in the church!