Today’s author is Prince of Peace member, Steve Sveom.

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

On May 10, as midnight approached, I drove to Centerville and stopped to look at the sky.  The northern lights were visible and I took a few pictures.

The next day I received some messages from my cousin who had driven out of East Grand Forks a few miles and was able to escape the ambient light – which I had not been able to do.

He sent these pictures.

It was a startling contrast, yet there was deep beauty both in what I saw and the stunning beauty in the variety of what my cousin saw.  We can marvel at the diverse colors in our world. 

During a recent rainy day I took an exercise walk at Maplewood Mall and was struck by the diversity of people from at least 4 or 5 continents of origin, various racial and ethnic backgrounds and who spoke several different languages.  I could tell that many religions were represented.  People were of different ages.  The diversity of people was beautiful.

The people of Corinth were diverse, and their experiences differed.  They were inclined to try to value their own experiences above those of others and there was dissent among the people of the Corinthian faith community.  In this passage from 1 Corinthians 12, Paul is calling them to value the variety of gifts that could be readily seen among them and other gifts that were not so visible.  Paul points out that there is a purpose to the variety – to serve the common good and build the body of Christ in order to love the world.

I have occasionally been aware, during the sharing of the Lord’s Supper, of the variety of circumstances (both needs and triumphs) that people bring to the table: illness, broken relationships, regrets and mistakes, personal struggles, grief, worries about loved ones, hopes, dreams, and personal accomplishments.  As people of God, we have a variety of needs among us.  But remember too, that we have a variety of gifts intended to build us up in faith, hope and love.  An individual congregation cannot address all of the world’s needs, but we are blessed with gifts to share the love of God and receive God’s grace in our own place and in our own way.

Gracious God, we thank you for the beauty and variety of our world and its people.  Thank you for the gifts that we can see among us and lead us to use those gifts to serve the needs of your people with love.  Amen.