Spiritual gifts do not belong to an individual. They belong to the community. As people we do not possess spiritual gifts, they possess us. Actually, She, the Spirit, is the one who possesses us.
So often we compare and despair saying “I wish I had the gift of knowledge or leadership or –insert your desired gift here–.” Or we feel inflated in an unhealthy way saying “I am so prophetic in my critique of the institutional church, God must really love me to give me this wisdom.”
Spiritual gifts are not merit badges of holiness or signs of approval from a paternalistic Godhead. Rather they are God’s response to the needs of our communities. And as people on the Jesus Way, our job is to do our own inner work, to get out of our own way, to allow God’s gifts to manifest through us.
Often this work is one of deconstructing the ego that the world is so good at encouraging us to create. And I’m not saying it is easy. But I think at a certain point the release into God’s gifts in us can start to feel really, really good. As we align deeper with our true self, the beloved child of which Scott spoke last week, some strange things can start to happen. Rooted in the Spirit, our work and our rest can become more intertwined than the world ever tells you they can be. In fact, could it be possible that our true work actually kind of renews and invigorates us at the same time that it is a vehicle for us to gift the community?
I know our beloved community and world needs all the gifts God can provide. The list Paul provides in I Corinthians 12:1-13 was never meant to be exhaustive. It is a starting point, a celebration of the ways that God moves in the world: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, power to distinguish one spirit from another, tongues, interpretation, and Paul continues later with the more ordinary gifts of teaching, leading, and helping others.
I am excited by the thought that one of the things that could mark Church in the Cliff could be our willingness to name the gifts we see in each other. I think we all need places of deep affirmation, communities who give voice and warmth of body to God’s love for us. Communities of people who remind us that we don’t have to have it all together and that to the contrary, in our confusion and brokenness, they see the light of God cracking through.
Welcome to the second Sunday after Epiphany–the beginning of a little green patch of ‘ordinary time’ in the liturgical calendar. We have moved through the starry nights of Advent and the fireworks of Christmastide and Epiphany and now we find ourselves out on the pasture. With just enough green in the fields for us to munch our way through the next five weeks until we dip into the deep themes of Lent. Lets talk while we munch, and name and celebrate God’s gifting of this one small community and of the whole wide world.
PS Join us at Casa Semrad tonight for some of Paul’s home cooking. 108 South Rosemont Ave, 6:30pm. All are welcome! Call church number for more info 214. 233-4605