February 09, 2020
On this fifth Sunday after the Epiphany Mo. Mary spoke to us of using the wide variety of God’s gifts to nurture and occasionally heal the body of Christ, our Church family, so that it can continue forward in its mission of worship, outreach, and evangelism to the world. Paul writes to the Church in Corinth that “no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.”
Everything we have in this world is gift from our Creator. Our spirit, wisdom, discernment, talents, abilities, and possessions do not belong to us. They belong to God who blesses his children with this variety of gifts to use for His purposes in the kingdom. Our first task when pondering our blessings is to pray and discern what God wants us to do with them for His purposes in the world. A part of God’s genius in creation is that our variety of gifts can fit together to accomplish His purposes as we surrender our will to God’s plan for us. An amazing collateral truth is that God asks us for only a minimum of 10% of his gifts to be given back to Him while he allows us to keep 90% for our personal use. What an incredibly loving, generous offer from our Creator! We are not put on this earth to hoard God’s bounty for ourselves. Rather we are to use it for the work of God to fulfill the commandments he gives us, primary of which are to worship Him as our Creator, help those in need around us, and spread the good news of our salvation through the greatest gift of all – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom we are saved and reconciled to our heavenly Father. It is our joy and hope as Christians to have eternal life in paradise with our holy and loving God.
In spite of our focus on following the example of our Lord Christ, we humans inevitably find ourselves in conflict. It falls on us to use the gift of the Holy Spirit to avoid resentment, disdain, and contempt and find a way to reconcile to each other to successfully carry out the mission of the Church. As Mo. Mary told us, God gave each of us the gift of life to use for the glory of God, not the glory of ourselves. The institutions we create on earth – whether organizations, laws, practices or customs – are designed for the good of humanity. They often go awry because of the sins of our humanity. All of our created institutions need tending and caring, especially in times of conflict. When we tend to these differences in the loving Spirit of God, we allow the light of Christ to shine brightly in the world. If we do not, we block the spirit and light and fail to tend to the mission to which we are called.
May we live in the spirit of God’s power, using His gifts to love, live and work in harmony and empty ourselves for the sake of the Church and each other. We are called to let go and let God.