This post is a new opportunity in which we as a whole community can participate in our monthly Celtic worship and experience the way each theme works in our church, in our homes, and in our lives. This coming Sunday at 11:30 AM on 18 November 2018, in our usually place of worship, we have before us a tiny portion of the biblical text in which to read. This outline will help us all think a bit more deeply about how God is calling us in a formation of a vision for the Anglican Church in Freiburg. Remember, it is a journey! The structure that is outlined here is one where we get a brief picture of the reading, followed by some core idea that highlights the passage. I, Christopher, will offer a few of my own thoughts in regard to the passage and our community, and leave you with some questions that might be a starting off point for discussions around your home tables after Sunday worship as you enjoy a day of rest and re-creation.
Our reading will be taken from 1 Peter 4. 10-11 which says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” The reading is purposely short so that we can meditate on it. As I have written in the last Celtic briefing letter, the entire book is so short that you would benefit from reading all five chapters. So go ahead and give it a read.
The central ideas:
You might enjoy reading the passage several times, slowly and thoughtfully. There will surely be words and/or phrases that seem important to you. Receiving a gift, and using our gifts not for ourselves, but in service to others are just one aspect of what God calls to mind for us in this short passage. Certainly we have a common mentality, ‘what will I get out of it’ that is strongly reinforced in our context. Many vibrant volunteer organizations now have trouble surviving despite the valuable work, because people want to have something for their efforts. Volunteering now seems to come with a price tag. The letter appears to speak to Gentiles who may have been part of rural churches in Asia Minor either as slaves or aliens in the land. There are certainly themes and warnings around suffering as Christians due to being different from the vastly pagan culture which surrounded them.
Some brief thoughts:
We will have this particular Sunday following closely on the heels of a large community activity, the Latin American/African event. Again, we are a community with a large diversity, but a unity in Christ. As we celebrate the distinctive traditions of various people and nations, we must remember our unity in Christ as being a great gift. Like the passage of study reminds us, we receive all our gifts from God, and it is not for us to capitalize on, nor to hoard our gifts away in selfishness. The text on Sunday offers a summary of spiritual gifts falling into two large groups — those based on how we speak, and those based on service. The passage reminds us to be conscious of our patterns of speech, and to be intentional in our service. In doing so, it is all for the praise of God. These is a different understanding to what we may have experienced in the world.
Around your Table
For some of us we share meals with a generation of people around the table as small children gather with parents and extended family. Others will often eat alone, so this section of the letter is meant to be adaptable to your own setting.
- Do you say things you sometimes wish you hadn’t? How would your speaking and interactions change if when speaking, we did “as one who speaks the very words of God”?
- In what ways do you think you could serve? In the service that you already may take part in, do you feel that in it, God is praised?
- The passage ends with a short doxology of praise. Offer to God, in your own words, a few words of praise.