Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
1 Corinthians 12:4-13 (NRSV)
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.
When did you last serve or worship with someone very different from you? How did you feel? How did the experience affect you? Did you see something in a new way?
Often we serve and worship with people who look like us, talk like us, act like us, and live like us. We humans have a way of dividing ourselves so that we see ourselves in others. It’s comfortable. Yet when we divide ourselves in that way, we ignore the many other faithful people who make up the body of Christ. You are not the only representation of faith. You are one of many.
This past Easter, a local black congregation and the congregation that I pastor joined together for a Sunrise Service. I’ll admit I enjoyed watching my restrained and reverent congregation experience the worship style of other church, whose members are more vocal in their worship. Neither is right nor wrong, of course. It’s just a different way of worshiping the same God.
Recently, though, I’ve heard a few more people say, “Amen” during my sermons than in the past. I doubt the preaching is any better! Maybe my congregation has learned that more than one type of expression in worship is a good thing. Coming together taught us that more voices are better!
Have you worshiped or served with anyone new lately? If not, and if Paul was right, it might be time you did.
God of all Creation, thank you for not making us all alike. Our gifts, talents, and traits combine with those of others to make up the whole of the body of Christ. We pray, God, that you will remind us always to reach beyond what we know, to what we don’t know. Help us to participate in your kingdom like you demand—baptized into one body Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, where we all drink of one Spirit. Amen.
Go with God.