Rev. Jeff Kardisco is senior pastor at Christ Congregational Church in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Scripture: 1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-31a (NRSV)
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.
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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Reflection: Made For It
When I was younger, I really thought I was terrible at sports. I’d started with soccer, and I didn’t especially love running for the entire game. Being a goalie was out because any time someone kicked a ball at me I dove out of the way instead of trying to stop it. When I tried baseball, I didn’t have the hand/eye coordination to hit very well, and just standing out in right field got old. Basketball yielded similar results – I couldn’t shoot, I couldn’t dribble, and again with the running?
Then I found football – and a coach who was willing to help me explore what gifts I might have for sports. He asked me if I knew how to push people, and being a middle brother of three boys I knew a little bit about pushing. He asked me if I could crouch down and put my hand on the grass, but look forward at the person across from me, and that came pretty easily. Then he told me to get in that stance, to wait for the quarterback to yell “GO”, and then to push the person across from me until I heard a whistle blow.
I tried it.
I was good at it.
It was almost as if I were made for it.
I realized then that I wasn’t going to be good at every sport, and even in the sport of football, I wasn’t going to be good at every position – but I was good at being a lineman.
That lesson has informed much of how I see myself in the different settings I’ve been in over my life of faith, and I think of that first football practice every time I read Paul’s words about the body of Christ and its many parts. Paul’s words to the early church are written to a church trying to find their sense of community. They are trying to work through divisions and to figure out how to work together for the good of God’s kin-dom. Paul’s message is simple – find out what you’re made to do and then do it for God.
As the new year gets ready to move into its second month, and as new year’s resolutions become points of guilt for having been tried (and failed) or left undone, remember that God created each of us uniquely – hoping that we would each use our gifts in different ways. Perhaps we’re not all meant to be an eye (or a quarterback) but maybe you’re a foot (or a lineman) – regardless all are invited into God’s redemptive work.
God of eyes and ears, and God of feet and calloused hands, speak to each of us as we seek to serve you, by using the gifts you’ve given us to the best of our ability – so that people would see your hope in the world. Amen
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
January Prayers from Rev. Darrell Goodwin:
Rev. Goodwin has asked for special prayers for the month of January as we enter 2022.
Week 1: Lay members and leaders within the SNEUCC
Week 2: All Authorized Ministers and MIDS in all settings of our conference
Week 3: All of our National and Local Covenant Partners
Week 4: All those serving in the capacity of Conference Staff
He also encourages you to continue to pray for first-responders, and healing in our world.
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the families and friends of more than 847,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease, and all those impacted by increasing numbers of positive Covid cases.
- For those marginalized communities who continue to face racism and discrimination daily
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For brights lights that guide us or show the end of darkened pathways
This Week in History:
January 18, 1958 (64 years ago) Willie O'Ree becomes the first Black hockey player to play in the National Hockey League, joining the Boston Bruins for a game against the Montreal Canadiens. O'Ree was called up at age 22 from the Quebec Hockey League to replace an injured player. He played only 3 games before getting sent back to the minor league where he excelled with several teams, even winning the Western Hockey League scoring title twice. O'Ree would return to the NHL in 1960 again with the Bruins and retire at the age of 43 after 19 seasons of professional hockey.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”