Installing the Body - Rev. Jody Long
According to estimates, about 41 million folks (give or a take a few) watched the 2013 inauguration live in person, on television or the Internet. In a country of about 311,500,000 folks that means about 13% of the country watched the inauguration.
Inaugurations, to me, are neat, no matter the political party. Sometimes the speeches are great; other times not so much. Most of the time, the music is spectacular (and Monday was no exception!). The wonderful sense of pride in our country’s amazing ability to peacefully transfer power from one administration to the next swells my heart. The beauty of ball gowns and evening wear at late night inaugural balls looks fun and reminds us that celebration is a part of the American life and human experience.
This Sunday, we’ll have our own inauguration of sorts. Reverend Scott H. Dickison will be installed as the 31st pastor in the long and storied history of the First Baptist Church of Christ at Macon. This lineage is deep and impressive: Adiel Sherwood, a stalwart in Baptist higher education and Mercer University history; Ebenezer Warren, for whom the first Baptist hospital abroad is named; Edwin C. Dargan, noted preacher, author and President of the Southern Baptist Convention 1911-1913; Chuck Poole, noted preacher and author who was pastor as the church began to ordain women as deacons; and, Bob Setzer, noted preacher and leader who served as Moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. And this brief list doesn’t include the luminaries who served as interim pastors during our history.
Like presidential inaugurations, history surrounds this installation service. Representatives from Pastor Scott’s formative years will be on hand as well as newer friends and confidants who share this journey of ministerial calling with him. His and Audrey’s family will be here, from such far-flung locales as Charlotte and Metter. At the very least, it will be a worthy celebration.
But, perhaps, this installation service is meant to be more than pageantry and wonderful greetings. Perhaps this installation service is not so much for Pastor Scott as it is for us. This service should remind us all – Scott included – that the church of Jesus Christ is more than one person filling its pulpit or assuming the title pastor. Preachers and pastors come and go, but the church remains. The church remains because it is the body of Christ and every member of the body has a role and calling to fulfill.
As we begin, another chapter in the life of the First Baptist Church of Christ at Macon the time is upon us all to join as the body of Christ to be his eyes, his mouth, his heart, his hands and his feet in our world. And if the feet want to dance as if it’s an inaugural ball, well there’s nothing wrong with that, too!