Sermon, Jan. 20, 2019
“Living in the Light – Spiritual Gifts”
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – Spiritual Gifts
John 2: 1-11 – The Wedding at Cana
Living in the Light is like being bathed with the light of God upon our soul. This bathing light warms us with spiritual gifts: some are given the ability to say just the right thing to some-one who is in need of healing or support; some know just what to give with just the right understanding to the receiver, of the gift; some are wise in understanding; some are filled with faith and hope and we receive harmony and peace; some are given hands to heal and grace shines forth; some are so intuitive that they can spot in an instant how things will work out; some are visionaries in the church; some can work miracles with very little with which to work; some understand in an instant what God wants for them; others can hear what a person is trying to say not what they have said. All these gifts working together bring forth a party of gifts beyond description.
Almost everybody I know likes a good party and church folks are no exception. Think about your average potluck. We groan with joy as the beloved recipes have been prepared with love and care. No calories or ingredients are spared and there is a wonderful variety, always. In fact, with pot lucks, one gets a sense of the variety of spiritual gifts and of wedding party of Cana. The scripture readings for this Sunday are an invitation to come to God’s party and bring our spiritual gifts with us. The ultimate party gift this week is Jesus’ inaugural public miracle of changing water into some mighty fine wine.
Living in the light is like children running to open their gifts Christmas morning.
We, the faithful, should have some anticipation and excitement to unwrap our spiritual gifts from our gift-giving God. These spiritual gifts are not given to benefit us but are given to be offered to all of us in this community of faith. Not one gift offered is better than another offered. All gifts are equal in the eyes of God. All gifts are given to carry out the work of the church. If one is exceptional in one area of church life, then they should be given that ministry. For example, if one is gifted in finances, one should be given the treasurers job and for example, I am not gifted in arithmetic or finances so don’t ask me to be treasurer. Just as there are many and diverse gifts, there are many ministries in a church life.
I hear a question in Mary’s voice as she points out to her son, Jesus, that the wedding guests have run out of wine. I hear a question that I carry within myself, a question familiar to many of us: Will I have enough? Are we running out? Are we rich enough? Safe enough? Will we go over the budget? Can we put dinner on the table and keep the wolf from the door? All the questions and especially Mary’s voice, is a question of scarcity and Jesus answers as he always does with abundance. Jesus who shows us God is the one who shows us true abundance.
Abundance. How much is enough? This is the crucial question as we make our way in the world and in our faith. The question of abundance can be an economic question or a faith question. Now our faithful response ought to be about quality not quantity; that living in the light can not be measured by mere numbers but by how our world looks today.
It is God’s intention I believe, as we see in the life of Jesus, the one who turned
water into wine, the one who sat down to table with all the wrong people; it is God’s intention that all life should flourish all should receive the spiritual gifts of God. Our task is to tend to this flourishing in our world so we and all might live in the light. Such light will come in its own time and differently to us all. Firstly, we must recognize our identity as a child of God. To live in the light is to live in that part of ourselves where we have an attitude of listening, of awareness of our journey and to have an openness to the mystery of life. A faithful life is filled with mystery. Can we be open to listening to the mystery of how God can change our lives? How we can fear less and hope more; complain less and breathe in the spirit more; love more, support more, know our own hearts more. The mystery is in the silent light of truth, the goodness of God that gives us the certainty that we are loved to the end and are not forgotten. The mystery of how God is always with us can be seen in others as their light shines.
By the way, this is the meaning of church: to enter here, to enter worship with others and communion with Jesus who loves us so that we ourselves become one of the smallest lights that he has lit, and we carry this light into our homes and community. If you can not see that light; don’t worry; look for it in your friends, in the work of the Thrift Shop. I saw it in the eyes of the aboriginal woman who received the tote bag of toiletries at the Women’s Shelter that I took for you last week. That light warmed me with a feeling of gratitude for your work here.
Our spirit must be open to the invitation to see the light of life. We acquire it at a time that is right for us. This light is a light that doesn’t glow for us to look at, like Christmas lights but a light that brightens our spirit and warms our heart. As we use our spiritual gifts and discover them in ourselves and others, living in the light is like being bathed with the light of God upon our soul with new discoveries. This bathing light warms us with spiritual gifts: some are given the ability to say just the right thing to some-one who is in need of healing or support; some know just what to give with just the right understanding to the receiver, of the gift; some are wise in understanding; some are filled with faith and hope and we receive harmony and peace; some are given hands to heal and grace shines forth; some are so intuitive that they can spot in an instant how things will work out; some are visionaries for our future church; some can work miracles with very little with which to work; some understand in an instant what God wants for them; others can hear what a person is trying to say not what they have said. This is our community of faith, learning and growing together. Amen.