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Epistle: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.   14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.   27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31aBut strive for the greater gifts.

In St. Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church is explained in terms that we can understand – a human body. Just as there are many parts of the body and they all have different functions, so it is with the body of Christ, which is the church.

I recall a building near the camp I worked at in the summers during college. It was your average building along a busy road in the rural part of northern Michigan. And as with all the buildings along the road, the sign out front let us who were passing by know what business could be found in that building. We see hundreds of signs of these in the course of a week, don’t we? Most signs are ignored or easily forgotten.

But this one sign has stuck with me for years.

The sign read “Johnson’s Maple Syrup and Septic Service.”

I will pause for a moment and let you consider that.

So many questions come to mind, yes? Do you use the same trucks? Are there syrup days that are separate from septic days? Are there two Johnson kids with different jobs, or is it a one-person operation?

What has this to do with Holy Spirit? (THAT IS A REALLY GOOD QUESTION!)

The reality is that we need to eat. The reality is we need someone to take care of our waste. Both are important, and some are more glamorous than others!

In the church, there are different gifts that people have to offer. Some are more glamorous than others, but all are important.

The good news is this – God has equipped each and every one of us with gifts that function together in the body of Christ, the church.

Over the past two years, we have found that this body is equipped with some wonderful gifts we didn’t realize until we had to start thinking of church in new ways. I am thankful for the sound and video team that has made it possible for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ via Sunday worship on-line, Zoom meetings and more. I am thankful for those who love to talk on the phone and are willing to reach out to our members and keep us connected. I am thankful for the incredible staff of Prince of Peace that have stepped up and done whatever they can to keep the mission alive. There are some days that work can be as sweet as syrup, and other days it can be… well, you know. I am thankful for people who don’t have to be asked twice to say YES when asked to do whatever it takes to share the Gospel. I am thankful for the outreach ministries that look beyond self to focus on others.

Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which calls us, gathers us, enlightens us and sanctifies us. Let God’s spirit work in and through you!

Let us pray: For your Holy Spirit, we give you thanks. Knit us together to do your will. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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