I’m Erik Klouse. I’ve been a part of Redwood for two years, and I’ve been involved with dramas onstage and the worship planning team. I grew up in Michigan, so the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the Motor City Bad Boys of 1988–1990 have a special place in my heart.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. — 1 Corinthians 12:13

So many followers of Christ love Paul’s writings. Many people who claim “life verses” choose statements Paul has made about himself, the Church, or the nature of God. This is one of those fantastic verses about unity that we love to quote and lean on as we face the differences that exist in our communities.

Before I go any further, I want to ask you to do something you may not have ever done before. We often read verses about “the body” without actually thinking about what that means or looks like. I want you to look at one of your hands and wiggle your fingers. Or take a “duck face” selfie with your cell phone. Think about all the things that had to work together in your body just for those simple movements to take place. Now think about all the events that happen around Redwood. Now think about all the events that happen around Sonoma County. How many little things have to come together in order to make them happen? Do you believe that you have anything to contribute?

Your fingers couldn’t wiggle without every muscle and tendon doing its part. What if everyone at Redwood used the gifts they had to their fullest? And with ANY person they happened to run into, regardless of whether or not they looked like you? How might our community change?

Friends, you have value – within the walls of Redwood, and outside the walls of Redwood, to the ends of the earth. Because our God is that big. Paul knew that the more differences that were displayed in those early communities of Christians, the more people would be drawn to God. He also knew that free Jewish men (like himself) had the strongest voices and most power so far in the Church. A major thrust to Paul’s calling was to proclaim that any person, with any social standing, could have access to God and an equal voice in this new community.

One of my favorite movies is The Three Amigos – an 80s classic. In it, a small Mexican village is trying to figure out what they can do to defend themselves against a bully who is extracting protection money regularly from their community. When the Amigos ask, “What is it that this town does really well?” the people answer, “We can sew.” I don’t want to spoil the ending, but they figure out a way to win. Victory by sewing! They thought that their gift was insignificant in the battle against their common enemy.

We need everyone to use their gifts against our common enemy! AMEN! Our differences are beautiful and express God’s love for every kind of person. We all drink from the same Spirit. We all have things to contribute. We are all saved by grace and united in love and common mission. That’s it. In. Up. Out. #WeAreRedwood #DropTheMic

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