Good morning all! Congrats! You made it to Friday!
Today’s scripture: 1 CORINTHIANS 12:27-13:3
27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Today would have been my grandpa’s, William Thomas, 95th birthday. He passed in August with his family gathered around him. And we honored him just exactly the ways he asked us to. We sang around him. We prayed around him. We talked with him and sent him our love. His service was full of him. We put out candy to keep people awake during the service. We sang some of his favorite hymns. We put out his beloved tricycle, chuck taylor shoes, walking stick with light attached and many many pictures. We had lots of sweets and lots of rootbeer after the service.
He was an amazing man. Even more amazing about my grandpa was that he so embodied what it meant to study and live out scripture and support us with that lens. In his last year, there were a couple of times when I went to visit him or drive him to see my grandma where all he wanted to do was talk about the bible. He had done some new reading and done some new research. Grandpa was fascinated by the cultural context of the gospels and loved delving into old testament texts in his old age. He would sometimes even copy pages off for me to see and hold on to (never mind I already have many bibles around and could just look up the particular scripture). And the conversation would be even better if you had a milkshake in hand.
Grandpa was also a man who recognized that we have different gifts and many blessings given to us. I am sure that he had read the above scripture many times and today it reminds me of him because of how he lived his life. He supported each of us in what we were finding out as our calls. He acknowledged that all are necessary to the whole body of Christ. He valued each and every person. He was so proud of me as I got ordained and do the work that I do. He was equally proud of each of my siblings as they continue to pursue their calls…in sports, physiology, music, teaching, etc. He would have pertinent questions for each of our gifts. And beyond that he encouraged others to follow what they were called to do. He was encouraging and loving.
This Corinthians passage talks to a whole community of beings. It is well used for the passages of love that this passage is leading into. It is no coincidence that Paul writes about love to a community right after acknowledging that we are so blessed with many different gifts. We need both/and. We are all connected through our gifts to the whole body and our love which is stronger than all. We are connected to our here and now community and the saints who have gone before us. In the midst of conflict, this church in Corinth is called to encourage each other and love on each other. It is so much bigger than just something to use in weddings. This letter is a way of life. We have so many saints before us who got that and set an example for us.
Today remember your saints. I know I will be remembering mine. Think about how you are called differently but equally important to the body of Christ. Today is about acknowledging the other who we are connected to and loving on one another while we remember those we love who have gone before us. They are necessary to our journey in Lent.