One of the apostle Paul’s favorite images describing how each person’s unique gift is vital in the life of Christian community is that of parts of the body – eyes, ears, ligaments, and so forth. Individuals vary widely in personality and gifts, and they also contribute to the shared character of the whole body. Each is important, yet the strength and wisdom of the body is never about just one person and his/her gift. We need both individual and corporate humility about that. Bring the special quality of being “you,” as God shapes you. Bring your gift, and also be prepared to leave space for something you do not, and cannot, control – that is, other people’s gifts. Our communal wisdom about the way forward is amazing. God fills us with gifts to be recognized and loved, in ourselves and in others around us. The Holy Spirit molds that diversity into a beautiful whole.
A community truly grounded in Jesus is, oddly, a community of both deep oneness and profound diversity. We are one, living in a bond of peace; bearing with one another in love. There is one body and one Spirit,… with an abundance of gifts to equip the saints for the work of ministry. The communion meal we share, representing the gift Jesus gave of himself in love, is a deep symbol of both oneness and many-giftedness. Many discrete grains are harvested, milled, ground, and baked into a single loaf of bread; many into one. And that one loaf is then taken into pieces, shared, so that each of us might experience and savor the gifts of all of those bits of grain. One into many. Let us savor our own gifts, and invite in and savor the gifts in our community yet unknown to us.
Peace and grace be with you,