Scriptural Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 1 – 13
Meditating the Word for a deeper understanding of our relationship with God and one another is key to our spiritual growth as a Christian. As for the members of the early church, today we encounter many individuals who would say that they do not really know the Holy Spirit or would admit that they are a little bit scared of the works of the Holy Spirit. Even we will encounter those who would have judgmental approach against those whom they will qualify as not having the Holy Spirit in them.
One of the things that we should always remember is that the Triune God we worship as baptised people calls us to be in mutual relationship with God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and one another. Our reading for this morning’s office from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reminds us that the most important aspect of our Christian identity, however, whether ecstatic or otherwise, is the public confession that “Jesus is Lord.”
As Dennis Ormseth suggested, this common confession is made possible only by “the one and the same Spirit” which also inspires the gifts distributed individually to believers, but always for the common good. The gifts to individuals, Paul wants to make clear, are therefore united both with respect to their source—the one Spirit—and in their purpose, namely, “for the common good” (12:7). The gift of faith which allows the confession also confers membership in a community which is finally the real recipient of the gifts which come through various individuals. The divine reality of the Spirit is from the beginning shared by all those who confess Jesus as Lord, and manifestations of this Spirit’s power cannot become a source of disunity, stratification, or alienation. Those who confess Christ become one body, with many members, each endowed with spiritual gifts (12:12).
Paul’s emphasis on the unity of the Corinthian congregation is very firm. But his intent is clearly not simply to urge the members to be more cohesive. On the contrary, he seeks to help them understand and acknowledge a dynamic unity which is already operative in their diversity: the distributed gifts are from the same Spirit; the corresponding services made by use of these gifts are for the same Lord; and the entire operation is in each instance inspired by the same God. Unity is given and sustained through the sequence (gifts, services, operation) by the integrity of the divine relationship (Spirit, Lord, God). Unity is given, and can be acknowledged and enjoyed, but it is not generated by the initiative of the congregation itself.
Paul’s chief concern is clear: It is the same Spirit that bestow the gifts and that calls us as Christian to confess Jesus as Lord of our life.
As we gear towards the celebration of Pentecost this coming Sunday let us ask God through the Holy Spirit to transform us so that we are able to give space to the Holy Spirit within us since our baptism to mold us in such a way that we abide with Him and we seek always to live a life where we love justice, mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
May God bless you all as you prepare to receive the Paraclete.
DENNIS ORMSETH Showing the Body: Reflections on 1 Corinthians 12-13.