RCL Year C Epiphany 3
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, and 8-10, Psalm 19, I Corinthians 12:12-31a,
Saint Luke 4:14-21

Christians are not superstitious: we believe in God’s Providence, the working out of God’s will in history and in our lives while we have the choice to be for God or against God. We are not surprised when Jesus reads, from the scroll of Isaiah, the salvation God brings to captives, the blind, and the oppressed, and then goes on to say for himself, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”[1]

Similarly I should not be surprised when, on the day of our Annual Meeting, God’s Providence has seen to it that we read Saint Paul’s great description of the Body of Christ, the Church. He uses the image of a body to explain and to describe Christ’s relationship with believers. And that relationship is this. Each of us is part of him, and he is part of all of us. Using Saint Paul’s image, the hand is not the eye, and the head is not the feet, but, together, the hand, the eye, the head, and the feet are parts of the one body. The body needs each of those parts to function.

When we think of the parish as the body, we see that we are as different and as diverse as those body parts. But each of us is part of Christ. Not all are apostles; not all are prophets; not all are teachers; but all of us are to allow the apostles, the prophets, and the teachers to follow their calling.  None of us should stand in the way of anyone’s manifestation of the Spirit.  Each one of us should encourage each other to discover and to use our spiritual gifts for the building up of the church.  We are a large-enough congregation, I think, to have represented in our number the gifts we need.  What we need to do is to try to encourage each one of us to use her or his gifts for the glory of God and for the building up of the church.

“If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?”[2]  You see what I mean.  If the whole body were worshippers and worshippers only, where would the Sunday School be? Where would the Vestry be? Where would Seasons of Love be? We want to get to that point where Saint Paul’s understanding of the community of faith, offering and relying on each member’s gifts, is fully realized. In the working out of God’s Providence we want to say about the Body of Christ, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”[3]

[1] Saint Luke 4:21.

[2] 1 Corinthians 12:17.

[3] Saint Luke 4:21.