Engaging Singles in the Body of Christ

JENILYN SWETT|GUEST For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Rom. 12:4–5). Paul’s use of body imagery to describe the church is both helpful and – at times – humorous. In 1 Corinthians, he wonders about what would happen if the whole body were an eye. Have you ever stopped to picture that? Or to picture a foot saying “That hand is so elegant and functional. Lil’ ol’ me isn’t needed here”? His point is made clearly: we need every part of the body to show up and function well (1 Cor. 12:14-19). As a single woman on the verge of 40, there can be times when the church body starts to feel like one giant eye made up of families with kids. And much like that foot, I have many single friends who struggle to feel like there is a place, a desire, a need for them to be part of the church body. Yet Paul tells us that in Christ, we are all, in fact, “members of one another.” When we take membership vows in the church, we make promises to help one another grow and pursue faithfulness. This is a commitment we make regardless of marital status, stage of life, vocational pursuits, or any other aspect of difference or commonality we may have. So how can the hand and the foot, the ear and the eye, the lungs and the kneecap, grow in relationship and more fully enjoy being part of the body together? This certainly comes through worshiping, studying God’s Word, and serving together within your church community. But let me share a few other ways that members of my church body have helped to assure me of my belonging to the body and to affirm our interdependence on one another:[1] Four Practical Ways to Engage Singles in the Body of Christ Seek to include and befriend. In the midst of all of our busy lives, it can be easy to overlook those whose lives and routines are unlike our own. But consider how you can include single people even in the midst of what your life already entails. Invite someone to join you in the pew or for lunch after church. I’ve loved being included in chaotic weeknight dinners, family birthday celebrations and movie nights, and joining in the cheering section at a kiddo’s soccer game. If it crosses your mind to extend an invitation, don’t talk yourself out of it – do it! Pursuit and companionship are great gifts in what can be a solitary season....

Engaging Singles in the Body of Christ2022-05-04T23:28:45+00:00

Union with Christ in the Storms of Singleness

Recently I traveled alone between my two worlds: Philadelphia, my home and vocational base and the Midwest where I have decades-long friendships. Somewhere over Ohio I realized afresh that no one but the Lord really knew me in both worlds. Only Jesus had journeyed with me emotionally, relationally, and spiritually 24/7 in both places. I’ve had many of these heart-pang moments and yet realize that even if I had a traveling companion (friend or husband) who stood by my side, that person wouldn’t know me fully. There is only One who can: Jesus, the one in whom I am hidden in the intimate and unique home that I share with him alone. Our union with Christ is an important truth of the gospel, and therefore our identity as Christians. Whether if single or married, or if you face storms or sweet joys in your life station (most of us experience a combination of both!), the eternal fact of being united to Christ needs to be a primary lens through which we interpret and respond to our circumstances. Including when you’re thirty thousand feet above ground, feeling sad and unknown, and inching towards the downward slide of melancholy. What Union With Jesus Means Jesus helped his friends understand the idea of union with him through a metaphor of a vine and branches. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5) Paul talked about this spiritual concept in his pastoral letters. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:3) “Abiding” (or remaining, having a home) in Jesus, Christ “in us,” and our lives being “hidden” in him all speak to the spiritual reality of our connection to Jesus through faith in his accomplished work on the cross and resurrection. All that was ours (sin and eternal spiritual death) and all that is his (holiness, eternal life, a spiritual nature, identity as the beloved Son) are exchanged. At the cross, he united himself to our hopeless human state and opened the door for us to be grafted into him, gaining access to the riches of heaven!...

Union with Christ in the Storms of Singleness2022-05-07T22:43:15+00:00
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