I grew up outside of a little town at the junction of two railroad lines where hard-working people tried to eek out a living using whatever resources were available to them. My neighbor and her husband were immigrants from the Ukraine who moved to Indiana shortly after WW2 and their escape from Nazi occupation. Seldom did we see Dorothy or her family shopping at grocery stores or clothing stores because she grew all their food and made most of their clothing.
I have a lot of fond memories watching her work in her garden. I think it was years before I realized she could walk upright (she was always bent over working the garden). Every square foot of her yard was used to produce something the family could eat. I still remember the smell of garlic and onion the closer I got to her fence.
Most peculiar to me was when it was "time to make the soup". I knew one of her hens was about to get it. I used to watch with a mix of horror and curiosity as she would grab a hen and "take care of business". I was amazed at how it could run around and flop so wildly before every ounce of life drained from it. Then she'd make the soup.
It's an image that sticks with you.
On Sunday, I asked this question: "Who is the head of this church?" How we answer this question tells us a lot about the kind of people we are and the kind of church we will be. Jesus is the Head of the Church.
What happens when the chicken gets separated from its head? It's not a pleasant thing to watch as the nerves and muscles short-circuit due to its disconnection from the head. The same thing happens when the church separates itself from Christ. A Christ-less church is a terrible thing to witness.
My main responsibility -- and privilege -- in the church is to help us grow up into the Head of Jesus. When we read Colossians 1:15-21, we see that not only is he the Head of the church, but he is also the source of our life that keeps us connected to the Father. There once was a time we were alienated, separated, disconnected, and severed -- but no more. From Jesus flows our life and purpose.
Without him, we're just flopping and flapping until our life drains from us.