“Love never ends” is the guiding theme for the whole series, but it is manifest in a variety of ways through these texts from I Corinthians. We begin this week with an emphasis on giftedness. God’s love for us is shown in the work that we do and in the gifts that we use. But not just in the doing itself, we see God’s love in the way service builds relationships and then those relationships create community.
Here is a chance to re-emphasize spiritual gifts, to launch a process whereby members of the church take some time to discern what gifts are present in the life of the congregation. Then ask, “How can we find ways to use these gifts for the benefit of the whole?” Maybe there would be space for testimony from those who have discovered their spiritual gifts and how they have been in service to the unity of the body, or the growth in discipleship, or the building of bridges into the wider community. Find ways to encourage others in the congregation to also be willing to be in service to the whole in new and transforming ways.
Above all, we ask for God to help us discern how God is at work in and around us as we worship and work. Our prayers are for wisdom and discernment and for the unity of the body. If there is polarization or conflict, pray for ways to overcome that which divides the body. It may seem impossible, yet there is power in the body praying together for a common vision. Sing songs of unity and of giftedness to proclaim this power of vision and of hope in the life of the congregation. Be open to the movement of the Spirit in individuals and in community as you gather in person or online to be the body of Christ at work in the world.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.