Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16 (GNT)
I urge you, then live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given.
It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.
And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent.
Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. Under God’s control, all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
What a wonderful reminder! While society calls us to be wealthy, hard-working, task focused, future planners, super fit and resilient even when we feel completely spent, here, we are called to be humble, gentle, patience, kindly, and tolerant. We are to live not with the focus on ‘me and my achievements’ or ‘what I have done best’. We are to take note of, and honour, the differences in each other. Further, we are to respect them. Human age does not bring seniority, as true ‘maturity’ comes when we come together in the ‘oneness of faith’.
These gifts from God are not for individual glory. They lose value when left within. These gifts are only apparent and discernible or ‘work’ when we ‘give’ them to another. All our gifts need someone else with whom to be kind, just, patient and tolerant. It is then that they are truly valuable.
The Body of Christ both forms, and is formed by, a collective of vastly different individuals, with an extraordinary range of gifts, connected through the tendrils of unconditional love. When we celebrate being One Body in Christ, it is then when we truly understand and experience unity through the peace that binds us together.
Gentleness and grace,
Warm us today.
Kindness and patience,
Draw us forward today.
Tolerance and understanding
Strengthen us today.
So that we are not carried away from whom we can be,
blown by the shifting winds that take us off course
from all that our life offers, when we live in community,
For we often lose our way and are drawn towards lies and mistruths.
Teach us, grow us, form us, connect us.
Only together, do we use our gifts.
Only together, do we dwell in your peace,
Gentle graciousness, we hear your call. May it be so.
Our love should not be just words and talk;
it must be true love, which shows itself in action. 1 John 3:18
© Rev Anne Hewitt 23/06/2021
this reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.