Spiritual Gifts for the Common Good

joslyn-preachingI’ve always found the language of one of the Rite I Eucharistic Prayers so moving:  “we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies…” Our financial gifts are one important symbol of the deeper offering our selves, souls and bodies, but so too are the gifts of our time and our talents. Ideally, when we offer our time and talent to the work of Church, we enjoy what we are doing;  we feel the “fruits of the Spirit,” as St. Paul enumerates them:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we don’t feel those “fruits,” I suggest that either we need to find out what is blocking the positive feedback loop or that we aren’t doing those things the Spirit has most equipped us to do, we aren’t using our Spiritual Gifts.

For the next two Sundays at the 9:30 a.m. Parish Hall Forum, parishioners Michael Koppenal and Ginny Brien will be teaching about Spiritual Gifts – how to have confidence in what they are what they mean; how these gifts can contribute to the mission and ministry of St. Peter’s and beyond; and the theology of Spiritual Gifts.

For those of you want to get a head start, or maybe want to explore your Spiritual Gifts but can’t attend the Forum, consider taking this Spiritual Gifts Inventory: http://www.mfcct.com/survey.html. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to complete. It was developed by a team of lay people and clergy and has been used in the Education for Ministry program.

I’d like to close with a prayer-poem we’ve used several times over the last year at St. Peter’s by 16th century mystic St. Theresa of Avila. When we use our Spiritual Gifts, we are becoming, more and more, the Body of Christ on earth always seeking and serving the Common Good.

Christ has no body but yours
No hands, no feet on earth by yours
Yours are the eyes on which he looks
Compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.

The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector