In our first of three weeks focusing on Intentional Diversity, last Sunday we highlighted the gift and calling of being an Intergenerational Household of God – each generation has gifts to share with the family of Immanuel. This is true of each individual as well!
Later in the fall we’ll reflect on the “spiritual gifts” the Holy Spirit gives each of us “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:1-7). This Sunday, our focus is on the gifts we give simply by being in relationship with each other. Paul’s letter to the Colossians weaves a beautiful tapestry describing these gifts: compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, love, gratefulness, wisdom, and songs (3:12-17).
Does this sound almost too good to be true, that there could be a family like this? If it were up to us to live like this on our own strength, it would be. But as the Household of God, our relationships with each other are rooted in and nourished by our relationship with the Father through our Older Brother:
Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was please to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you…he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death… (1:17-22).
We are reconciled to God and to each other in Jesus’s “body of flesh.” We are woven together within the fabric of the flesh of Jesus, receiving first from him the gifts listed by Paul. Through the crucified and risen life of Christ, the Father gives to us his compassionate heart, his kindness, his forgiveness, his love. What better gifts could we then offer to one another?
I look forward to being with you this Sunday.
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. I ask you to pray for two important areas of our life together. First, please remember to be praying for those attending the women’s retreat this weekend! Second, our Bishop, John Guernsey, announced this week his plan to retire within the next two years (read his announcement). Please begin praying now for Bishop John and Meg, for the process of electing a new bishop, and for the diocese in this transition.