YouniqueHere we are, 10 weeks into lockdown and thoughts are now turning towards what life will be like in the months to come.  The Prime Minister has expressed a desire to be back to near normality by July, yet the scientific advisers seem to be saying that this is unlikely to the case until we have a vaccine or a drug that is far more effective at treating those who are ill.  One thing is sure though, there is a desire to start moving towards coming out of lockdown and we have seen this in the relaxing of certain rules.

 

This then leads to the question of how our places of worship will begin to open and, more importantly, what God is calling our churches to look like as we leave this very unique moment in history.  And in one respect I’m not sure there are many clear answers to that one question, but I am clear that God is speaking and we need to be listening.  I am sure that how we are church is not going to be the same, it can’t be the same.  This lockdown period has given as so much hardship, but it has also given us an opportunity to ‘be still and know that He is God’, to listen and to follow where the Holy Spirit is leading.

So, what does that mean for you and I, for our church?  There are so many answers to that question, some will be discovered in conversation with God, some will be found in the bible, and some in conversation with the Christians we journey within our churches.  Today I want to encourage you by reminding you of a biblical truth that applies to ALL of us… that whatever the answer to the question above is we all have a part to play, we all have something we bring to the table of what it means to be church.  We are given spiritual gifts to be used in our life together as church and in the sharing of the good news Jesus brought us.  Even if you feel you have nothing to offer that is not what God tells us through the bible.  You have a place in the family of our church and you have a gift to share with us all.

These gifts fall into two categories: miraculous gifts (like healing and tongues) and practical gifts (like teaching and giving). Paul’s letters provide three major lists of gifts in Romans, Ephesians, and 1 Corinthians.  I am just going to list these gifts from the places mentioned in the bible and leave you to ask the Holy Spirit which ones you are bringing to where God leads our church next.  The Holy Spirit is stirring something amazing in this nation, so many people have been confronted with hard truths about the way we have been living as a wider society… I encourage you to look over this list and see what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you.  Hear are the gifts, what is yours because you do have one, God, thought the bible tells us this is true.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work (1 Corinthians 12:4-5)”

Romans 12:6-8 - We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Ephesians 4:7-8 & 11-13 - But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”… So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 - Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

You, we, are all given gifts by God, how is the Holy Spirit calling you to use yours in the weeks and months to come?