Sometimes we’re Sherlock and sometimes we are John Watson
One of my favorite television shows is the BBC show, Sherlock. It’s all about Benedict Cumberbatch’s flashy and clever version of Sherlock Holmes, and of course his partner, John Watson. While the show is about Sherlock, it is just as much about Watson. It wouldn’t be any fun to watch if it weren’t for him.
We read in 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ: “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this.”
I think it’s natural for our eyes to be drawn to certain people. The clever or eloquent, the people who naturally take the lead. But you also need the quieter and reliable people who make sure someone is around to unlock the doors and unfold the chairs and move the tables.
These roles are not set in stone, of course. One Sunday morning I went to All Saints in Park Slope (Brooklyn, NY), where the rector, the Rev. Steve Paulikas, pointed out that not only are we different parts of the body, but we may be different parts of the body at different times in our life.
Sometimes we’re Sherlock and sometimes we are John Watson. Sometimes we take the lead and get the attention; sometimes we just show up and quietly work hard. Sometimes we’re the feet, sometimes the eyes, sometimes the ear or nose or liver.
Still, some people tend to fall into particular roles. There are those who simply always show up on time and do whatever is needed and rarely take the lead. There are others who tend to be visible because they are excellent public speakers or big personalities.
Given this, I think it’s important that church leaders remember to honor those who are less in the spotlight. It’s important to recognize the person who gets the bills paid as well as the preacher, the volunteer who turns on the lights as well as the one who plans the big fundraiser, remembering that we are sometimes the flashy one who can’t do their jobs without others and sometimes the one behind the scenes.
In the series, we are naturally drawn to Sherlock, but one of the points of the show is that he cannot do what he does alone. Those of us who might be in the spotlight need to occasionally redirect it toward others. It may help to occasionally ask ourselves, are we honoring every member?