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
Paul understood that in any group of people who have come together around their faith in Jesus Christ there would be found an abundance of gifts. These gifts, when realized around a common purpose, create a transformational community where the common good is sought and love becomes the basis for all that happens within and as extensions of that community. In short, this is a community transformed by love in God.
Disregarding the fact that in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul is admonishing the Church in Corinth for allowing their gifts to be a source of division rather than unity it is obvious that, as far as Paul is concerned, there is real value for all the gifts present within the community. The following chapter of course is where we get the famous discourse on love so common in weddings (how many sermons can be preached on one passage?). For Paul it is within Christian community where love as the basis for all we do is taught. It is this love that transforms us and transforms the world. In congregations like St. Paul’s there are a range of personalities and gifts. When these are rooted in self-giving love only God knows what new life will spring forth.
St. Paul’s vestry is currently in the process of discovering what gifts are present within our community of faith. The Personnel team, using their gifts, has put together a 64 question Spiritual Gifts Assessment in order to help us all discover what abundance there is among us. They have done a wonderful job and are eager to hear from all of us. I filled out my survey in less than ten minutes. I realized after going through the questions that I would not make a great choir member, so I can now cross that off my list; you’re welcome.
I would like to offer a gentle reframing, however of this project. There is always within institutions a tendency to think first about the needs of the institution. But, the Church both universal and local (St. Paul’s) is the people, not the institution. The Church exists because of you and your faith in the Triune God. As you fill out the survey, please prayerfully consider how you have been transformed through faith by the gifts of others. And then ask how you see yourself and your gifts as being a part of the transformational work of the Church. It is the vestry’s hope to connect us all to the life of this congregation in ways that bring life to you, to the community, and to the world. Thank you for your participation in this work.
The survey can be found on St. Paul’s website. You are asked to fill this out by February 17th.
In gratitude and peace,
P.S. Laurie is feeling much better but fatigue remains a symptom. The kids and I will continue to quarantine through the 5th of February. We are exceedingly grateful for your support during this time. Yet another sign of the love of God in the world.