Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 22: Year 1
“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.” (1st Corinthians 12:27 and 28)
Paul is not only talking to the Church in Corinth. He is talking to all who profess to be Christian. He says “We” are the body of Christ as the Christian Church. He goes on to say that some, not all, are appointed bishops, or prophets or pastors and teachers. We all bring to the Church certain God-given and needed gifts.
Some of us in the Church are doctors and teachers as well as trash collectors and grocery store clerks and all walks of community life. All are needed in order that a community might be sustained.
Some of us in the Church are pastors and teachers. This is a huge responsibility. It is the call of pastors and teachers to fortify the people in the pews to take the love of the Gospel out into the community. In our Matthew Gospel reading for today, Jesus is doing just that. He is sending out the twelve.
I was told long ago, that Church service begins at the dismissal. It is when the people in the pews are dismissed at the end of the service that they began the faithful work of carrying the Gospel of Christ out into the community, in deed and word, but I pray, mostly in deed. I think it was St Francis of Assisi who said in so many words, “go and preach the Gospel and when necessary, use words.” I like that. We should walk it before we talk it.
In our 1st Corinthians reading for today we also hear Paul speak of leadership and language. I believe God will from time to time call any one of us to leadership. It does not matter about their physical appearance. They could be heavy of thin, or any shade of skin. They could be male, female, heterosexual, homosexual or non-sexual. God will call who God will call and then gift them with what is needed to help communities in need. I am reminded of another Church saying I heard long ago. God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called. Yes, this even includes giving them the words needed to get God’s point across and for righteous teaching with love.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John