Summary: spiritual gifts - used as a whole
If One, All
Epiphany 3rd - Jan 21
1 Cor. 12:12-31a
† In Jesus Name †
Grace and peace, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, is given to you all, His People.
Members of one choir..one symphony
One of my favorite novels, tells of a series of contests, where the winner of the tournament wins his own freedom, and riches beyond imagining. The contest, each round is determined by the tow contestants, as they work through a serious of grids, with one choosing the column, and one choosing the row, as they work through type of contest, subtype, and eventually what they will compete in.
In one particular round, the hero of the story is matched up against a renown world class musician. The contest ends up being a duet, and though the hero can play, he is no match for one of the world’s best soloists, on the soloists favorite instrument. The piece would feature times where they played equally, and other times where one would lead the piece, and the other support the lead’s playing. The hero, realizing that he will never match the soloists performance, determines to enjoy the odd chance to play with the world’s best.
The contest is judged among the best performances in history, as the soloist puts forth the most amazing of performances, as the young hero plays in support. The crowd, and the professional judges, sit in awe. But the shock comes, as the scores are read, and the winner is announced… for the hero, has won the event. The crowd, is angry, even horrified at the result. So is the young hero. In shock, he demands an explanation, where upon the soloist surprisingly agrees with the judges.
You see, young sir, we were tasked with playing a duet, where one is judged, not on what one personally accomplishes, but instead, on who adds more to the entire performance. My support of your lead was solid, but unspectacular, your support of my lead allowed me to play as I have never played before. Therefore, you added more to the piece, and are the better musician in the duet.
If only life in this world were as simple as a duet! In reality, it is more like a complex orchestration, with more voices, and instruments all competing for attention and position. Perhaps that is why it is so full of noise, and so devoid of music that calms the soul, and refreshes our lives?
It is in the church, among our brothers and sisters in Christ, that we should be able to find that rest, that peaceful life, a veritable symphony of praise to the God who places and conducts our life, together.
Entered by the Spirit Baptizing
If we use the concept of an band as an example of the world, we would find that the noise created is because of sin. Simply put, everyone wants to be the lead, the primary instrument, and that the music, and the other musicians are there to make me look good. The world ignores the conductor, as each member of the group does what they think is best in their own opinion. There is no such thing as harmony, or unity.
Ultimately, that is the nature of sin, which denies the plan and guidelines of God, in order for narcissism to rule. One doesn’t care about what others need, as long as he or she, gets what they need. Unity is only a tool to use temporarily, as the guitars work together to drown out the violins, then once in power, they fight among themselves for who is dominant. In that struggle for power, or success, or just attention, we find the basis for ever sin that so binds the people of the world.
Something drastic is needed, to turn us away from that path, to help us to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Something incredibly drastic, as drastic getting a bucket of cold water poured over our head!
Wait, that’s it, the bucket of cold water, or maybe just a scalloped-shell full! It is, as our passage talks of,
so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit
If we are to have any hope of unity in a church, or in a community, or in the world, that unity starts with a stark realization, that we are all baptized, we are all drawn into the body of Christ.
It is no error my friend, that whenever the Bible speaks of people using their gifts, as Pastor Knotek said last week, for the common good our gifts are given to us. Look at Romans 12 – there, prior to the discussion of gifts, is the discussion of the renewing of our mind, the effect of the baptism that occurs in Chapter 6. In Eph. 4, before discussing the gift of pastors and leaders of God’s people, there is the reminder that we are of One Faith, and One Baptism. Even in Titus we see,