Romans 12:4-8 (NRSV)
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
In elementary school, I was blessed to go to public school in a program called Integrated Day. Our classrooms were communities where two grades of students gathered, learned, discussed, worked and were engaged with one another. Class meetings were held on a regular basis, and together with our teacher we created our classroom set of expectations and rules. We all sat at tables, not desks, and didn't use textbooks. I affectionately called it "project school" because we worked on lots of projects in groups and individually. I loved being part of the Integrated Day program, and from an early age, I learned the importance of working together and being part of one team. I vividly remember our weekly school assemblies where we would celebrate by singing together and then individual students would share writing, projects, and concerns. It was clear, even to my young mind, that we were all part of one community and had gifts to be celebrated.
Now, imagine if more of our classrooms, companies and families functioned like the Integrated Day program where we talked about expectations for behavior and held each other accountable, where we worked together to solve problems and where we uplifted each other's gifts on a regular basis. Friends, as Christians, we should live each day knowing that we belong to Christ's team and are called to encourage and celebrate each other.
Amazing God, we give thanks today for experiences that have taught us how to celebrate people and build community. When we become too distracted and bogged down or negative, remind us of our call to give thanks for our own gifts and those of the people around us. We pray all this in the name of Jesus who teaches us to live and love, Amen.