Please read our scripture from Sunday, 1 Cor 13:1-13.
Traditionally, this season after Pentecost is called “ordinary time,” which I’ve always found funny since what does “ordinary” mean once you’ve been given the Holy Spirit? Is it ordinary to speak and understand accounts of God’s deeds of power in multiple languages? Is it ordinary to be touched by a violent wind and divided tongues as of fire and survive both? Is it ordinary to have a promised advocate, a helper sent by Christ?
The pitfall of this season after Pentecost, this “ordinary time,” is that we do not insert ourselves into the story and instead pretend that nothing ever happened. But we can’t do that. As baptized children of God we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever, maybe not as dramatically as in the story of Pentecost, but we too have been changed by the coming of the Holy Spirit into our lives.
These next few weeks we are looking at the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These fruits are anything but ordinary. These fruits, the gifts that come from letting the Holy Spirit guide our lives, can transform ordinary experiences into extraordinary moments. They are, quite simply, radical ways of being in the world. Take, for example, our reading from Sunday, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Now, reread verses 4-7:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Is this love ordinary? I don’t think so. When you know this kind of love there is nothing that can compare. You know it is special, it is precious, and it is to be treasured and reciprocated. This kind of love is a gift of the Spirit’s guidance because on our own, well, let’s just say we need a little help. Today I invite you to make a list. Alongside these words, think of someone in your life who has demonstrated these qualities:
Not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude
Not irritable, resentful, or insistent on their own way
Rejoices in truth and not in wrongdoing
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things.
I pray that you have known and seen these qualities first hand. I’m confident that you have been led by the Spirit to be these qualities to others, too. Remembering that the gift of the Holy Spirit is no ordinary act, may we continue to be open to being led by the Spirit.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
Lead us, Gracious God, and shape us by the grace of Christ and the inspiration of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to expand our understanding of love and kindness, that we may grow in our ability to reflect your love and kindness to those we meet this day. All this we ask in the name of Christ, Amen.