Did you know:
The human body is miraculously complex,
With 60 million cells,
With 36 million heart beats every year,
With 300 billion red cells produced every day,
With 60,000 miles of blood vessels in each body.
And in order to make this marvelous body you and I are inhabiting continue to function, we need to different parts to work together! From the pinky toe to the inner ear and eyes to fingertips, each part has vital role to play in overall functioning and health.
The last point at which you want to think about your body as gifted is when you are injured or struggling, and that is when you need your body the most! When you have knee surgery, you are preparing for physical therapy to strengthen a repaired ligament or tendon. When you have sinus infection, you are eager to move towards full health in your nasal passages.
As we begin this series on spiritual gifts together, we begin with the incredible recognition that within the body (the church) – God has already given us everything that we need. Within the body, there are those with wisdom and the those with knowledge. There are those with faith and those with healing. There are those who work miracles and those who prophesize. There are those who discern and those who speak in tongues and those who interpret. (Even though, that can be uncomfortable for some of us to think about, sometimes!) We have sometimes believed that one person has all of the gifts. And some of us do not have gifts. We just have the ability to do whatever needs to get done! This is where we need to hear again that the Holy Spirit has given to each of us a gift for the common good.
Throughout the month of February, we will be looking at our own spiritual gifts. We will be uncovering what gifts that the Holy Spirit has gifted each of us. The Holy Spirit gifts each of us with at least one of the spiritual gifts for the common good. These gifts can bless the body of Christ. You may already know what your gifts are. You may not be sure what your gifts are. As I share and describe, I invite you to think about your gifts as well as the gifts of the gifts of others. Paul describes spiritual gifts in the first letter to Corinth.
Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth is a bit like picking up someone else’s mail. We hear Paul’s encouragement to the church without hearing Corinth’s original challenges, but perhaps we might be able to imagine them. I can almost hear the gathered body at Corinth complaining and unsure. How does our body have enough to do it all? I put in all my time – Does anyone else even notice? We need more people to step up! If more families do not come and do my ministries, I might do sometimes more drastic!
Paul chooses the higher road: LISTEN! Here are the gifts from the Holy Spirit:
Wisdom: There are those who so wise – they guide and make decisions for the body that lift all us beyond where we have been.
Knowledge: There are those who have knowledge that is beyond. They have in-depth understanding of issues and situations
Faith: There are those who trust God and encourage others to trust God, no matter the circumstances.
Healing: There are those who can share God’s healing power restore the sick, injured, and suffering.
Miracles: There are those who through the Holy Spirit can perform wonders and signs to point God.
Prophecy: There are those who proclaims the way of God
Discernment: Those who actively process of working with God of deciding how you are called into the future
Tongues: Those who speak in various languages to communicate with others
For just as the human body is a unified whole, composed of millions of different parts, so is Christ and his body. We, people of faith here at West Grove, ought to know this. We know at some level, at least an intellectual one, that each and every one of us is a gift of God and has gifts of the Spirit, and that one way of being gifted isn’t objectively better or more special than another. Different gifts may make one better equipped for a particular job or role within our life together, but it doesn’t make him or her better or more special or more ‘Christian’.
Each one is necessary and valuable. Without each and other part we are significantly lacking. No one person can have all the gifts. Necessarily, we need one another. We need prophesy of the voices that stretch us. We not only need a Martin Luther King Jr. and Nadia Boltz Weber, and many others who are prophets as part of the larger body of Christ. They are pushing and pulling the body of Christ. Sometimes we are comfortable and celebrating, and sometimes we confess that we have made mistake as a body and as individuals and this makes us uncomfortable. The body of Christ needs prophecy in the same way it needs way discernment, to grow and to evolve.
In the same way, Jesus was attending a wedding with his mother. We do not know whose wedding it was. Whether or not he got a “plus one.” Whether or not he was eager to go to the wedding to go or appeasing this mother.
What we know is that his mother saw his giftedness, long before he saw his own. Mary knew that his time had come to serve, before he was convinced that he had come into his own and was ready to share his gifts. Mary, his mother, was ready for her son to share his gifts with those present, because they could benefit. She was so convinced that she did not even spend time convincing him to do the right thing. She merely told the servers to do as he might say, and then stood back and watched it happen. To be a part of the working of the first sign, rather than standing in the way. Sometimes, it is others who encourage us our gifts and discern when we are were ready for prime time.
More often when we talk about the body, we talk about it faults and foibles – disease and illnesses, aches and weaknesses. We catalog why we went to the doctor or need to go, or maybe even why we are planning on avoiding medical care all together! However, we have missed that our bodies and the body of the body, the church, the bride of Christ is filled with giftedness! Each of us is needed in the body. You have gifts given to you Holy Spirit for the building of the body of Christ.
Millions of cells coursing through your body still need the inner ear and fingertips. Your Spirit-given gifts are a blessing to you and to this community of faith! From those who celebrate the certainty of faith to those who have known miracles in their lives, we are a blessed community. God continues to give us what we need. Do you know your spiritual gifts? Each of us has been given at least one! May God bless you with opportunities to discover and use your gift(s).
This is the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ, Thanks be to God, Amen.
Old Testament Lesson: I Corinthians 12:4-13
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.
Gospel Lesson: John 2:1-11
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Sunday: “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.” 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7. Consider that all gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the common good. Your gifts benefit you, your community, your church, and the world when used through the Holy Spirit for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God.
Monday: “To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 12: 8. Pray for those who are given the gifts of wisdom and knowledge. May their wisdom and knowledge point the way to the LORD.
Tuesday: “To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit” 1 Corinthians 12: 9. Who can you celebrate in your life with the gift of faith or healing in your life? Share that affirmation with them!
Wednesday: “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.” 1 Corinthians 12: 10. Consider how you have seen the gifts of miracles, prophesy, discernment, and tongues moving in the church. God uses all of the gifts to reach all people.
Thursday: “All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” 1 Corinthians 12: 11. Where have you seen these gifts in your own life? Each of us have a gift from the Holy Spirit. We would love to help you discern.
Friday: “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.” 1 Corinthians 12: 12. Pray for the body of Christ today. The body of Christ is filled with many members and abundant gifts. There is no uniformity, but there is unity through the Spirit.
Saturday: “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.” 1 Corinthians 12: 13. The body of Christ extends around the world, regardless of human boundaries. Consider where the Holy Spirit is urging you today to embrace your brothers and sisters in Christ.