The First 15

Monday September 27, 2021

by Sharon Reid

Today is Monday, September 27 and this week we are exploring the practice of connecting in life-giving and life-sharing relationships as the body of Christ.

Opening Prayer

As I enter into prayer, I pause to be still. I breathe slowly and recenter my scattered thoughts upon the presence of God.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, come guide me into these moments of stillness. Help me use all my senses to be present with you and fully receive the goodness, beauty and truth you have to share with me today. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I choose to rejoice in God’s good design for our lives to be lived in community, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 133.

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. Psalm 133: 1, 3

Pause and Pray

Today we reflect on the Apostle Paul’s words to the early Christian community in Corinth as he shares a metaphor to help them better understand God’s loving design for life together.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Reflection

I have a deep appreciation for Paul’s metaphor of the body of Christ. It helps me contemplate and conceptualize God’s design for our life together as followers of Jesus. It also helps me recognize that diversity is not just something to be tolerated, or regretted, but something to be received as a gift of God’s design.

Diversity is God’s gift to us. Unity from diversity is our gift to God.

I might confuse unity with uniformity. I might find it easier to gather with people who are “just like me” and become complacent about reaching across the divisions that mark our culture. Paul is pointing me to something much richer than uniformity.

And the foundation of Paul’s claim to unity in our diversity lies in baptism. In baptism I experience the Spirit of God at work within me to help me overcome the very divisions that the dark powers of this world work to nurture within me.

Ask: How has the Spirit of God been at work within me to overcome divisions that ultimately weaken the body of Christ?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me examine my attitudes and thoughts about your good gifts of baptism and diversity. May your strong Spirit come to help me overcome the dark powers of this world that are at work within me. Guide me to hear your message for me today as I slowly reread the words from 1 Corinthians 12.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Ask: What image, word or phrase stood out to me this time as I read Paul’s words? How am I abiding in this one life-giving and life-sharing Spirit, both for myself and for the body of Christ?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me receive the baptism of your Spirit again today. Help me learn how to understand and receive it from the broader view of our diversity, your good gift and design for our lives together. Amen.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

Closing Prayer

Father, prepare me to live this day being true to you in every way. Jesus, help me reach out to others with kindness and in grace. Spirit, help me remember that we, who are many and diverse, are called to live in unity, through the bond of peace, as the body of Christ for the transformation of the world. Amen.

The First 15

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