This week’s thought begins with one of my prejudicial perspectives about contemporary Christianity. I believe it is way too focused on the individual and on the individual person’s relationship with God. Faith becomes a journey mainly of me-and-Jesus. I find that to be kind of a sinful, self-focused reinterpretation of God’s great grace and love that, John declares, was given for the world!
The second lesson appointed for this Sunday may have attempted to address a similar misreading and practice in the early church. Apparently people began to sort themselves out in pecking order fashion about the importance of their own individual gifts and talents. A hierarchy of gifts began to emerge: you can only fix a pipe but I can read and sing. Therefore, I have a higher gift than you.
Corinth was a crossroads of the ancient Mediterranean. People thought, believed, practiced differently. Very individualized.
Paul writes to nudge the Christians in such a context not to conform to the cultural norm of such individualization as an expression of their Christianity. He writes about the health of the whole Body. He write there are different gifts, activities, and services. But God gives them all ‘for the common good’, not for individual aggrandizement.
Any version of Christian community is both most healthy and most faithful when it’s concern is about the whole body: congregation, neighborhood, world.
Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
CHILDREN’S SERMON: “Silent”
SERMON: “One and the Same for the Common Good”
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
so shall your God rejoice over you.
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to 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. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. 9When 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 10and 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." 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.