Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Light we Shine

Romans 12:4-8 (NRSV): The Light we Shine
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
We are all equals in Christ. I am drawn to books that depict inspirational lives who bear glaring witness to Jesus, people who sacrifice everything for the sake of their faith. St. Teresa of Calcutta, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, St. Francis of Assisi, Corrie ten Boom, David Wilkerson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and St. Thérèse of Lisieux are a few of Christ’s witnesses who offered their lives for the love of the Gospel. And their stories are inspiring to read.
Meditating upon such greatness, however, can sometimes be discouraging. There is no way that my life can compare to such devoted sacrifice and witness. Their brilliant light can make my life look dim. But St. Paul’s words reassure us that, in faith, our lives are equal in the eyes of Jesus. For St. Paul states that “we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.” Additionally, St. Paul reminds us that “not all the members have the same function.” Our expression of faith and role in Christ’s church varies in degree and purpose. But it is all according to God’s plan for each of us building up the one body of Christ. Our witness may be to persevere in the Sunday morning struggle to get our kids ready for church; to be a faithful, devoted partner to our spouse; to be a loving parent to our children; to be a good friend; to be honest and kind to the people we encounter, especially our families; to smile at and welcome the stranger; to say please and thank you; to avoid gossip and instead offer a positive word; and to be a loving witness in many small ways throughout our day.
We all have a brilliant light to shine for Jesus Christ, and the light we shine is neither brighter nor dimmer than anyone else's. It is the light that God gives each of us according to His grace and our abilities. “Not all of us can do great things,” St. Teresa of Calcutta says, “but we can do small things with great love.”
I pray that we use the gifts and graces God gives us to change the world through our doing “small things with great love.” Amen.

Have a blessed week!

Stan