Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. (I Corinthians 12:1-11 NRSV


Dear Fellow Disciples,
    In my final homestretch toward graduation I was reflecting on some of the classes I have taken while attending seminary and realized there was a common thread or process that allowed me to fully take in all the knowledge and wisdom the subject offered me. I also noticed a connection to 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 where Paul speaks about spiritual gifts
     That common process was the art of learning together in community over time. Once in, you find that style of learning has a certain internal feel and momentum. It is ancient, and larger than you are; it weaves you together with other people in doing things none of us could do alone. Learning within the body of Christ also draws people together from across neighborhoods and communities each individual unique and different yet sharing common ground as being a member of the body of Christ. Paul makes the same claim when explaining the beauty of spiritual gifts. Paul expresses how no spiritual gift is better than another and all spiritual gifts are governed by the Holy Spirit. Each gift is unique to the individual, but all gifts are equal unto God and Christ and the common ground is we are the members of the body of Christ and we make up the whole of the body of Christ.
     As the body of Christ, we also share common ground with the Eucharist. Part of shaping communities and finding common ground is table fellowship. The Eucharist can allow space to ask important questions regarding the sacrament. What does it mean when we say all are welcome to the table? Everyone is welcome at the table. There is no hierarchy at the table of Christ. The Eucharist gives the opportunity to share common-ground and learn about one another in community. Paul is teaching that exact message when he writes about spiritual gifts and how they are not subject to hierarchy. There is no ranking on which spiritual gifts are better than others. All gifts are unique yet the same in the body of Christ.
     As the body of Christ let us take table fellowship and hospitality beyond the church walls and into the world where we can discover and learn about the rich spiritual gifts that we bring and learn about the spiritual gifts of others through faithful presence in community.
     God is still speaking and acting, and is inviting us into the divine dance of love through learning and acceptance.
Student Pastor Jack Hocker




Pastor Chris and Michael