The First 15

Wednesday September 29, 2021

by Sharon Reid

Today is Wednesday, September 29 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 give thanks for God’s 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 continue with the Apostle Paul’s writing to the early Christians as he dives more deeply into how their calling impacts the way they are to connect and relate to one another in life-giving and life-sharing relationships as the body of Christ.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:11-15

Reflection

The Church is unlike any other group of people on earth. Unity in organizations and clubs is quite functional, usually based on interests, events and activities. Unity in the body of Christ is not merely functional, it is organic. The body of Christ is a living organism, born from God’s own hands, with the Spirit flowing through its veins to give life. Each member has been given spiritual gifts by Christ himself so that the members of the body help other members mature in faith.

I might not easily see myself as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. But what if I understood an apostle to be a devoted advocate or supporter of the teachings of Jesus; a prophet to be a visionary leader; an evangelist to be a person warmly inviting others to experience Christ’s presence; a pastor to be a caring shepherd; and a teacher to be someone sharing their own personal experience and knowledge of faith with others?

Ask: What is my part in building up the body of Christ? How am I engaging my gifts to help others mature in faith?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me examine my attitudes and thoughts about the spiritual gifts Christ has given me for growing the body of Christ to maturity and unity in faith. Guide me to a deeper understanding of the calling I have received and your message for me today as I slowly reread the words from Ephesians 4.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:11-15

Ask: What image, word or phrase stood out to me this time as I read Paul’s words? How does it impact the way I will live out my calling today?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me speak the truth in love to others and to myself today. Empower me to understand and engage the spiritual gifts you have specifically given me for blessing the body of Christ. Amen.

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5

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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