“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord… to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” ~1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 7
Before Jesus is crucified and again after his resurrection, he promises that he will send a Spirit to be guide, companion, comforter, advocate. He knows that his disciples will need help in continuing to follow his path when he is no longer with them. They will need power and guidance, assurance and encouragement. This Spirit will dwell within them. It will flow among them, connecting them to Jesus and to God, and creating unity among them. It will reveal truth to them and help them discern. And then, fifty days after the resurrection, the promised Spirit arrives in wind and fire.
In our facility in the time between Easter and Pentecost I have noticed moments when we have felt the in-between-ness similar to the disciples. The promise of new life has been among us in new stakeholders and residents, in spring’s warming and growth, in moments of joy and play… but the unity and discernment, the courage and the way forward are still tender and sometimes uncertain. I see this in individual lives as well – the space between the prayer and the answer, the space between the inkling of new life and the full joy and courage that new life brings.
We too have this promise of the Spirit, and my prayer for us in this coming season is that we see the fruits of that Spirit among us more and more. Signature’s “sacred six” are expressions of these fruits, I think – love (compassion), joy (positivity), peace, patience (patience), kindness (teamwork), goodness (integrity), faithfulness, gentleness (respect), and self-control.
And 1 Corinthians reminds us that although all of us can cultivate the fruits of the Spirit, the Spirit’s gifts to each of us are different. The unity that comes to us from the Spirit is not a unity of lock-step or monkey-see-monkey-do. It is much more complex and beautiful than that. We are invited into our own callings and our own way of making manifest the light of Christ. Sometimes those gifts come into direct conflict (eg, preserving history vs. going in new directions). But even in the midst of that, the Spirit is providing. All of the Spirit’s gifts are for the building up of the body – for the common good. May we find joy and peace as we live more fully into the gifts of the Spirit, each of us in our own way, and all of us together.
Chaplain Laura Stone