“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:7
In the much-loved chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes the workings of the Holy Spirit. All are given spiritual gifts which are intended to build up the Body of Christ. Paul writes that some are given the gift of wisdom, some are blessed with healing, others with the gift of prophecy, and still others with discernment of spirits. He explains that the Spirit allots these gifts and activates them within us.
The beauty of the knowledge that we each have these spiritual gifts is that we can look at ourselves and our neighbors with eyes to see the gifts within that shine forth through the action of God’s Spirit. The idea of a church community then becomes truly understandable, as we are meant to use our gifts in community, acting as Christ’s Body on earth. Our responsibility to ourselves and to each other is to discern when the Spirit is urging us to listen and when to act.
The gift of discernment may be nurtured in each of us by spending time with the scripture. In Ignatian prayer, we read a passage, sit with it, and then imagine ourselves in that scripture scene, immersing ourselves in the Word in order to discern what message God might have for us today. In reading this passage from Corinthians, at a time when we have an Interim Rector, I am struck by the importance of our whole church community working together to call the next Rector. Our comfort is in knowing that if we do listen to each other, recognizing that each of us has a gift to bring to this community, the common good will be the result.