This summer, a spiritual director suggested that I meditate on 1Corinthians 12. It talks about how each of us have unique combinations of gifts and parts to play in God’s Kingdom. A recent experience at seminary helped me to better understand those truths.
Our class was responsible for organizing a variety show that is put on every fall for the seminarians and priests – it’s called “Café Hofbrau.” It involves skits, videos, lighting/sound and all that kind of stuff.
It was neat to see my classmates using their gifts: writing, directing, acting, filming, editing, marketing, set managing, teamwork, etc. Other priests and seminarians contributed theirs too: making videos, performing, helping with audio/visual, helping with other details, etc.
In the end, the show turned out well. And while the roles varied, it was ultimately everyone playing their parts and playing them well that made it as good it was.
I am thinking of one seminarian in particular who had only two lines. During rehearsals, he had trouble understanding his part and even remembering his lines. But just before the show, he got both down, and then nailed the role! That helped to maintain the momentum of the opening scene, and in pleasantly surprising fashion. In doing so, he helped to set the tone for the night and raised the audience’s (and performer’s) expectations of what was possible.
I think it is similar with the Kingdom of God. Regardless of what our gifts or roles are, we can be at peace knowing that our main responsibility and means to being a blessing is doing our part well. And we can also be at peace knowing that we are not alone, that everyone has an important role to play, and that when a role is played well it benefits all.
1Corinthians speaks to this when it says of the Body of Christ (the baptized), “the parts… that seem weaker are indispensable” and “if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
When the spiritual director gave me that passage, he mentioned one other thing. He basically implied that God can reach certain souls through us that the person beside us will not be able to reach.
Though the analogy may not be as profound, I could see how this might be the case from the feedback to the variety show.
One deacon liked the opening video in Heaven, which he thought was beautiful. Another seminarian the scene with “Mr T,” who he thought was going to appear when he heard the voice of the actor coming down the hall. Another priest the Ed McMahon-like announcer to the “Tonight Show,” and his being a sidekick during the monologue. Another seminarian the video of students on campus being asked survey questions about various topics.
Different qualities strike a chord in different people.
Maybe this has to do with why Corinthians also says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?.. As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
As we reflect on our gifts and roles, let us be grateful for them and the unique purpose God has given each of us to be a blessing in his Body and Kingdom.