1/17/22 Devotional from Ed
January 17, 2022
Weekly Devotional from Ed Black
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:4-31
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, 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. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Devotional: In yesterday's church-wide Sunday school/Faith Formation class, we had a good discussion about this Scripture and community. Each community we belong to, whether it's our country, city, neighborhood, school, workplace, volunteer organization, friend group, church, etc., is composed of many gifts and talents. Recognizing this is obvious, but it's sometimes hard to be remember this important point when differences arise.
Recall that James, Peter, Andrew, and John, four of the disciples, were fishermen, and Matthew was a tax collector. And, we have some evidence that James and John, the "sons of thunder," may have had some strong tempers! There's a place for many gifts and personalities on "God's team."
However, are we sometimes quick to think that "God's team" exists only within the physical walls of the church? Who else is out there, a person also beloved by God, who may be thinking or acting differently than us?
We also watched a video of this song as a reminder. (I challenge you to not have it stuck in your head...)
If we are going to continue to lean into becoming the disciple Jesus calls into becoming, then we must continue to recognize and appreciate the differences in God's kingdom. And then the next step, the harder step, is the one that calls for action in order to spread love into a broken, hurt world.
The context is different, but his words still remain true. Martin Luther King wrote this powerful statement from a Birmingham jail 58 years ago: "All too many...have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows."
Forest Lake, may we be the disciples who choose the courageous option.
Prayer: God, empower us to move beyond the security of our church walls. Fill us with your Spirit, your light, to move into the world and shine your light into the darkest of dark places. Amen.
Source: King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Available from https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html