Y’all last Sunday we gathered..and some were early (sorry about that) — just as a friendly reminder here at least — Adult Study is at 10AM now! So we gathered and opened in prayer.
Then we began checking in. Talking about how we live Romans 12:2 — being not conformed to the world; having our minds be transformed; discerning the will (the good & acceptable & perfect will of God!). So much richness and passion came from this discussion. Conversation about what is the way of the world, insight as to what Paul was calling his audience to when he tells them not to be conformed to the ways of the world (of Roman Empire and such). Points lifted how the way of the world can be to appease people, to be impatient, to not be kind…that to be Christlike — to be one who follows what Christ said and did is to be different than the world that is around us; that if something like the sermon on the mount is what shapes us (ideas of forgiveness, of meekness, of seeking peace) all the while recognizing the cost of loving in this way for Christ — the One whom we follow — is death on a cross — then we should look different, be different — dare we offer, this is what it is to be in the world while not conforming to it? And there was insight too as to how do we have transformed minds? Though the grace and the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who can and will convict and lead us as is necessary; through reading the Word of God with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will speak to us through God’s Word; through gathering round a table with people (who we do not always agree with!) looking to Christ & searching the scriptures for what God is saying to us today! The conversation was rich…and I wonder, if we all are willing to bring our full selves to the table open to each other & open to the voice of God speaking — how will God change us? Transform us? And what will the other people around the table say when they see who God has transformed us to be? It’s exciting y’all — because the thing is, God’s not finished with ANY of us yet — and at least for me, I’m grateful with that truth!
So after this grace and passion filled conversation we pivoted back into Romans 12 and read verses 3-8 (New Living Translation below):
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Another challenging selection of scripture. Don’t think too much of yourself. Be sober in your judgement. Be careful in comparing. We discussed how people are given (gifted) different skills, talents, abilities; and naming how also we are the same in the sense that all have sinned & fallen short, all are not worthy of the gift of grace & the gift of faith — and so to compare ourselves to each other….well in that sense (or for pride) why? The scripture calls us to honor & respect & be honest in assessment perhaps holding simultaneously the truth that grace is offered to all, that we all are called to the perfection of God (and none of us is there), and that we are gifted differently too. Perhaps all easier said (or typed) than done.
Thus we come to the homework time. An invitation to think soberly about ourselves and to ask that the Holy Spirit reveals — what part of the body are you? (and why?!) Then once you know what part of the body you are (yes you can be creative!) & why — imagine the body part you are is getting a check-up — how are you doing? How are you functioning?
Y’all I’m excited to hear what God has been revealing & to see what members of that body will be gathered around the table this coming Sunday! As I mentioned before we prayed out last week, one Christian I know named herself as the bile in the body — not everyone wants to be there, it’s smelly, it’s not pretty, but it’s agitates and it is necessary & without it the body is not healthy! So….what part of the body are you?
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater