Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hindsight, Discernment, and Unity

Within the context of a conversation yesterday in a meeting armed with the the blessing of hindsight, I realized that for the past year or so we have been engaged in discernment. Several times we have actually used the word "discernment" to describe what we were doing. Though I suspect that we thought if it more in terms of planning and preparing. Discovering and doing the will of God is different from measuring and implementing our own. 

Figuring out what God wants you to do (and become) can be frustrating. Rarely is the process quickly accomplished. Sometimes I think of it as a period of gestation that seems to never come to fruition. Despite many idiosyncrasies, we are faithful when we strive forward. 

Since the recent snow accumulation derailed our plans for last Sunday morning, this Sunday morning in Faith Formation Forum we will discuss last week's topic, Growing Together Spiritually. As time permits, we will incorporate the topic for this second week in our six-week challenge, Using Gifts to Work Together.
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.                    - Romans 12:4-8

Marva J. Dawn, in her book Truly the Community observes the following:
How rarely it is truly understood in the Church that we are really all together in one Body in Christ, and each member has a different function! To our great loss, the idea of unity in diversity in the Christian community is often talked about as a nice theory, but rarely put into practice. We all can see how wonderful the pictures of the Scriptures are, but the friction comes when we try to put them in tangible relationships and structures. Seldom do we actually manifest true unity/diversity in the Body, and, therefore, rarely do we set one another free for functioning in our own unique ways.*
As you reflect on your experience as a member of a congregation, a parish, or a gathering of Christians, consider how you have lived into unity. Have you? Is there room in the midst of it all for diversity?  Are we better at "taking hostages" emotionally or setting one another free for functioning?

* Dawn, Marva J., Truly the Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), p. 77.

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