Monday, January 21, 2013

Looking Forward to January 27, 2013 -- 3rd Sunday After Epiphany

The Scripture Reading this week is 1 Corinthians 12:1-31

The Sermon title is What Part are You? What Gift have You?

Early Thoughts: In the Body of God, where do you fit?  But even more crucially, in the Body of God, are all parts equally welcome, equally important?

It is a question that has bedeviled the church since the beginning.  It is fairly obvious that the church in Corinth was a divided body.  Evidence of these divisions appears throughout 1 Corinthians.  And Paul's response is to tell them to get over themselves.

I have to be honest, sometimes I find Paul tedious.  Sometimes I find him tiresome. But sometimes I find him awe-inspiring.  Sometimes he soars.  This chapter of 1 Corinthians is one of those times when he soars. 

To a community where some people have been putting on airs, where some think they are more important than others, Paul says NO.  No you are not.  To a group of people who are arguing about which gifts are most helpful or vital or show more spiritual maturity/depth Paul says WRONG.  Paul affirms that all the gifts come from the same source and therefore are of equal value.  Paul asks what part of the body people would prefer to live without, and names that we are all a part of the same body.

Fast forward a couple millenia.  And guess what?  The Church Universal is still having similar arguments.  We still have people claiming that some other people do not belong or that others are misunderstanding the Gospel of Christ or that they have a faulty/immature relationship with God.  We still have people claiming that some manifestations of God's Spirit in one's life are "better" than others.  And so I think we still need to hear Paul's words.

As I type these words we are in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Two weeks ago a group of us gathered in the Friendship Room for prayer.  The reason the Ministerial started that was because as an executive we knew that we had to do something to start building a sense of community within ourselves.  We needed to do something to start building up the body.

Unity is hard.  Unity is hard because it is about being who we are in our diversity.  Uniformity, if you actually have it, is easy because it is all about being the same.  But true unity in diversity is hard.  True unity means we need to meet each other where we are and who we are.  We have to be ready, willing, and able to name, recognize, and honour each other's giftedness (as well as our own).  ANd in the end that is what God calls us to. God calls us to Unity, not to Uniformity.  And in the end, uniformity is kind of dull, but unity in diversity can be really exciting.

So what gift do you have to share with the community?  What part of the body are you?  How do you bring light and colour and variation to our unified community?

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