Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Basis for Unity

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Scripture Reading--I Corinthians 12:12-27

All Christians are Charismatics.  That’s one of my favorite sermon titles based on this text by the renowned preacher and teacher, Fred Craddock.  It’s an arresting title because most of us would never associate ourselves with a label used to describe Christians who wave their hands enthusiastically in worship, go from one faith healing service to another, and speak in tongues.  But if I understand Craddock’s strategy with that title correctly, he wants us to realize that however we label ourselves—liberal or conservative, charismatic or mainline—if we are Christians, we are all charismatic.  We have all received gifts or charismata  from the Holy Spirit. Paul’s claim is that the body has many different members. For Paul, the church is a community where worldly divisions and hurtful labels are overcome.  The church is the place where, through baptism, Jews, Greeks, slaves, and free—are all one because they share the same spirit.  One could make the argument that a church like Centenary has become what it has become—a place of hospitality, diversity, and affirmation for all—because it is truly “charismatic.”  We are trying to be a place that recognizes that our unity is not a human construct or based on any ideology, but a place where unity amidst diversity is received as a gift from God.   As Paul argues, to truly experience the fullness of Christ’s love and grace, we need all the different parts that make up the body if we are to be whole.  How is your Christian faith stretched and enriched by being part of a church that sees diversity as an essential expression of God’s intention for all humanity?
Thought for the day:  Every person in the body of Christ is important!  We all have something others need--and others have something we need to be whole as well!
Prayer:  O God, even when it is hard to accept others who irritate or annoy us in the church, help us understand that we all need each other if our experience of God is to be complete.  Amen.

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