And welcome to the season of Easter! For seven weeks we will proclaim the good news of Jesus’ resurrection by hearing the biblical accounts of his appearances to his disciples. “Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed!”
I am fascinated by the wide variety of personalities that I encounter everyday – at home, at church, at the schools, in the community…. We human beings are each so very unique. You are a unique individual. No other person has your exact same traits, your likes and dislikes, your talents and gifts.
Social media is full of online quizzes – “What is your personality type?” “Which Lord of the Rings character are you?” “What classic novel describes your life?” My favorite find among these tests recently is the one that offers a warning label for each MBTI personality type, as if we were each paper cups of coffee needing a label similar to, “caution: contents may be hot.” The funniest one on their list was for the ENFP type: “May spontaneously up and move to Antarctica moments after making a serious commitment to you because they saw a picture of a penguin online that looked cute.” Seriously, though, we have been created by God with a unique blend of beautiful gifts, amazing talents, varied resources, and interesting personality traits.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 compares our church community to a human body. We each are as different from one another as the parts of the body are different one from another. Ears are different from eyes. Fingers are different from toes. But by bringing our unique gifts into the one church community, we become a full functioning body of Christ.
We saw this in action on Palm Sunday as one of our members collapsed near the end of the service. Several people called 911. I led us in prayer. Nurses and other medically trained folks offered their immediate assistance. Several people moved pews out of the way to clear a path for the paramedics. Someone went out to the street to flag down the aid cars … We functioned together as the body of Christ and the man who needed medical care is now feeling better and is home from the hospital. On Palm Sunday I gave thanks that God had provided for us in this particular congregation all the giftedness we needed that day in order to respond well to an emergency situation.
As Paul writes in Romans 12,
4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
May we each use the gifts we have been given for the Glory of God.
with thanks in Christ,