Individuality and Institution
(Make sure to check out some highlighted needs and events at the bottom)
Even those of us who don’t desire the spotlight want to be noticed. Whether it be recognized for exemplary work, a zealous work ethic, a polished beauty, an athletic prowess, or a skill beyond other’s capacities, I don’t believe there is one person that would prefer to be thought of as “average” or “ordinary.” In fact, sociologists have speculated that one of the reasons people distrust and don’t associate with institutions anymore is the emphasized desire for individuality, which is easily squelched when asked to adhere to a constitution, creed, or code.
This is one of the constant battles of our human species that desires both the acceptance of a community and the celebration of their individuality, and it’s not a battle easily solved. To gain community acceptance is to forfeit some individual preference. On the flip side, as noted above, joining into an institution such as a school or church is often perceived as stifling and negating of one’s uniqueness.
So how do we balance the “celebration of the one” with the “movement of the many?”
The answer might just lie in the Confirmation and Graduation Celebrations coming up in worship where you’ll hear language around two ideas:
Join Something Unique
1 Peter 2:9 says this about the Christian community (the church): “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
The point of the church is that we are meant to be unique from the “norm” of the world. 1 Peter refers to Christians as “resident aliens” because our culture, practices, and values are supposed to stand out above the rest of the crowd. When Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect,” he is telling his followers that their love and forgiveness should be so radically given that others might pause to wonder “why?” In a more intimate moment with his disciples in John 13:35, Jesus expounds on this by telling them, “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In our quest to be unique we often avoid those things that would make us the most special. Anyone can dye their hair 20 colors just by going to Target and purchasing the supplies, and anyone can attract attention through an internet video for their 15 seconds of fame, but not everyone does, without the power of God, love so uniquely that people are dumbfounded by our generosity.
In the vows that our confirmation class will take, there are promises to “renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness and repent of our sin,” “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever ways they present themselves,” and “support the ministry of Christ with their prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness.” In other words, they’re willing to sacrifice a little of their individual preference because they recognize the group’s mission is way more compelling than just an individual spotlight.
Uniquely Support What You Join
But, scripture also tells us, “We all have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.” (Romans 12:6).
Not everyone at Texas A&M is meant to be a yell leader or in the corps. Not everyone at Texas Tech can ride the horse. Not everyone at church is meant to do the exact same thing, rather, we all have a unique part to play.
If we take the time to read through the Bible, we’ll find that no two people are alike and yet those two people are united by a very unique purpose. I hope you will come to worship in May, starting this Sunday, to help celebrate some very special individuals who are special parts of our church.
AND – see below for ways to celebrate our uniqueness together.
We need YOUR unique presence for a great summer camp for kids!
There are still spots open for Pre-K and Elementary kids to sign up.
We need YOU as a volunteer to make this great for the kids!
On May 21, we will have ONE worship service at 11:00, with Sunday school for all ages at 9:45.
Class of 2023, you can use THIS FORM to submit your photos to Pastor Keri Lynn
At the “School Spirit” cookout, we want everyone to show their school spirit by showing off their own graduation photo, no matter from pre-school, high school, college, or beyond. Send your photos to Amber Gallimore to be a part of the “School Spirit” slideshow.
*Note – Class of 2023 needs to fill out the form above as a separate process. Amber is putting together a slideshow for everyone’s pictures.