Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. — 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV)
Across from my desk is a bookcase with archive boxes lining the shelves, each with a label like Hindi, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. It does not sound like an extraordinary sight; but when I look at it, I see the world. This bookcase is where I keep copies of international language editions of The Upper Room daily devotional guide. Publishing teams in Africa, Asia, and Europe send me copies of every issue printed. Some copies arrive wrapped in newspaper and cloth that is sewn up to form a mailing envelope — its corners sealed with red wax.
As I receive these copies, I often think about the many people who do the work of this ministry, the many hands that touch this “little book.” I think of people all over the world sharing their faith stories in writing and submitting them for publication. I think of the editorial staff in Nashville, Tennessee, compiling the English manuscript for each issue of The Upper Room. I think of the publishing teams across the globe, many of them made up of volunteers, translating and editing the international editions. I think of the designers and printers producing copies of these editions and of the distributors mailing and delivering them, some by motorcycle and even by foot, to churches, hospitals, prisons, schools, and homes of subscribers in more than 100 countries. I think of the millions of readers spending time with God in prayer through the pages of The Upper Room.
Truly, we are many parts but one body! Together, we offer prayers in many languages; we serve God with a diversity of talents; and we worship with abundant expression. My hope is that as you read The Upper Room you are blessed and transformed by our many-ness and our oneness as people of faith!
“Spiritual vitality in our churches stems from our openness to God’s transforming presence, not in anxious striving. Tending the soul of the congregation starts with attending to God’s presence in our lives as leaders, then bringing the same prayerful openness into the meetings and ministries of the church. Our work is to help the people to pay attention to, listen to, learn from, and live in the Spirit.” Read more.