Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas Church—January 21, 2016
“Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And 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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. “ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31a)
The passage above is the second reading appointed for this coming Sunday. Most often I pick out a sentence or two and add, “You can read it all here...” But this passage begged to be shared in its entirety today, as we prepare for the annual meeting of our parish, and as we reflect on the actions of the meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion last week. As to the latter: our presiding bishop, Michael Curry, has written and spoken some heartfelt and eloquent things on the meeting and how decisions made there will impact us as a church. Bishop Stokes has also added some very helpful words for us to consider as we move forward as individuals and as the Church, the body of Christ in our time. I encourage you to check out the statements of Presiding Bishop Curry, Bishop Stokes and many others through our diocesan website www.dioceseofnj.org, or through the website of The Episcopal Church www.episcopalchurch.org. Facebook and www.episcopalcafe.com also offer many helpful links and observations.
Bottom line: we are all in this together; we are the body of Christ on this earth, in this life. We have need for one another, and the various gifts each one of us brings to the table.
Let us pray:
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Peace and blessing,