Kolaches and the body of Christ

I love my life in Florida.  But I must say, trips back to Texas remind me of what I have left behind.  Bluebonnets in March, and prickly pear flowers in May.  Beef brisket barbecue so good that is actually better without sauce.  Two dozen varieties of peppers in your local grocery store.  Mexican food that is worth eating.

But one of the least-appreciated Texas delights is a pastry called a kolache.  Pronounced koe-LAH-chee, in case you wondered, the word is derived from the Czech word for wheel, kola.  Buttery, slightly sweet bread with a depression of fruit, cream cheese, or (if you know where to shop) both in the middle.  I suggest the peach, although pecan is always recommended in Texas.

The influences brought to Texas by Tennessee (David Crockett, Sam Houston) and Mexico (tacos, tamales, refried beans) are well known.  But Texas is part Czech, part German, part Vietnamese, part Nigerian, part Native American, and plenty of other parts as well.  And each brings something to the table — the dinner table, if you are fortunate.  We can agree to disagree whether pho or posole is the more intrinsically valuable ethnic soup.  But most would agree that the culture is richer for having both.

“Diversity” is usually discussed as a goal to be achieved.  I prefer to think of it as a reality to be embraced.  The Lord’s body comprises members of all sorts — ears, hands, toes, elbows, all playing their part.  Often it becomes uncomfortable in the body.  The eyes feel out of place among the ears.  The pinkie feels unappreciated.  The hair is always seeking special attention.  This is not “the best way” — as though we have a choice in the matter.  This is simply reality.  This is life in the body of Christ.

The context of 1 Corinthians 12 involves the Holy Spirit’s distribution of, and the saints’ usage of, spiritual gifts.  Clearly God could have made everyone a miracle-worker, or a prophet, or (as was vogue in Corinth, apparently) a tongue-speaker.  He did not.  He put them all in the body “just as He desired” (1 Corinthians 12:18).  In today’s church we might be able to relate more to the terminology in Ephesians 4:11 — “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.”  These also appear to have been special roles given, or at least accentuated and aided, by the Holy Spirit.  But all were for the same purpose, as the next verses indicate: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  The goal is the betterment of the body as a whole, and the glorification of the Head.  We are privileged to play whatever role is gifted to us, and we thank God for the opportunity.

We sometimes find ourselves putting together a “dream church” in our minds.  More young families.  More future elders.  More college students.  More single men (or single women).  But unless we plan on going to neighboring churches and “recruiting” (please don’t tell me we’ve stooped to that!), we really have no choice but to embrace the church as it is and help one another make the most of our faith and bring strength and stability to the body.  It likely will be that you will not see as many people as you would like in your chosen demographic.  But perhaps that is a good thing.  Different perspectives, experiences, skills and judgments makes the body stronger.  Yes, it may take some getting used to.  But oh, how sweet it is when we discover what the disparate parts of the kingdom of Jesus Christ can bring to the table!