Connected...With Christ at the Center

What do a cell phone, a puzzle, and a bike tire have in common?  They are all things that need a connection in order to work properly.  Consequently, they are each a different kind of connection that illustrates a specific aspect of our school year theme, which is Connected . . . with Christ at the Center.   

First, a cell phone. Have you ever tried to use your cell phone when you don’t have any bars or you’re not connected to Wi-Fi?  It’s all but useless. This is certainly a first-world problem, but it is frustrating, isn’t it?  I mean, I know we’re supposed to use our cell phones to make phone calls, but how would you ever be able to scroll through TikTok, post your BeReal on time, or check your Instagram feed without a connection to Wi-Fi?

Just like our cell phones, we all need to be connected as well.  As fallen, sinful people, each one of us needs to be connected to Christ.  Without that connection, we could never escape the consequences of our sin or its wages, which is death. 

As recorded in John 15:3, Jesus said, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.”  Christ is the source of our redemption because He cleanses us from our sin and gives us life.  Not only that, but in verse 5 (which is our theme verse), Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” 

Christ is the vine and the source of our righteousness.  Without a connection to Him, we could never do anything that God would recognize as good.  Thanks be to God that by His grace you are connected to Christ, and with that connection comes the free gift of salvation and everlasting life.

Next, a puzzle.  A puzzle is not complete until each and every piece is connected to another.   When you first open the box, there’s no order to the pieces.  They’re a meaningless mess until you start connecting them together.  As more pieces are added to the puzzle the picture becomes clearer and clearer, but it’s not until that final piece is in place that the puzzle is complete.

The same is true for us as Christians.  As the body of Christ, we are connected to one another.  The body of Christ is made up of unique individuals from every walk of life and culture with a vast variety of experiences just like the students, faculty, and staff at Concordia Lutheran High School.  By virtue of our individual connection to Christ we are also connected to one another. 

Even though our theme verse doesn’t talk about this kind of connection, Paul does in his first epistle to the Corinthians.  In that letter he says that there should be “no division in the body, but that the members” should “have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (I Corinthians 12:25-27). 

But maintaining that connection is not always easy.  After all, human relationships are oftentimes broken - marked with disagreements and strife, hurt feelings and bitterness.  How does God expect that no division would exist among us?  That seems unrealistic.   

Even as Christians, we struggle with our sinful nature.  Even within a Christian environment like Concordia Lutheran High School, we don’t always get along.   We’re not perfect and neither are our relationships with other people.  However, we have something that the unbelieving world does not have.  We have Christ at the center of our relationships.  When there are issues to work through, what do we do?  We seek to be reconciled in the name of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As the connected body of Christ, we seek to be forgiven by one another and to forgive others freely in the Name of Christ.  Why?  Because we are, all of us together, the body of Christ in this place.       

Lastly, a bike tire. You’ve got the rim, the spokes, and the hub (that connects the tire to the bike and to the chain that makes the wheel turn and ultimately makes the bike move).  If any of those parts are missing or broken, don’t even think about riding that bike.  The most important piece, though, is the hub.  Without the hub, everything falls into disarray.  The hub is at the center and keeps everything together.    

Christ is the hub for us.  He’s at the center of our lives and at the center of our relationships with one another.  It is only because of our connection to Christ that our connection to one another can be maintained.  Human opinion, pride, selfishness, personal preferences, ego would drive us apart, but Christ keeps us together. Christ at the Center means that we keep His commandments (John 15:10).  We keep His word and hold it sacred because God Himself has revealed it to us. We trust Him and not ourselves.  We trust Him and not the lies that Satan spreads throughout our culture and our world.  We trust Him and not the conventional wisdom of the day which stands in contrast to His Word. 

At Concordia Lutheran High School, the truth of God’s Word is the foundation of everything we do.  As Christians within this Christian community, we abide in the love of Christ.  These things Christ has spoken to you, that His joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).  We are Connected . . . with Christ at the Center.