Fifth Sunday During Lent
|Jeremiah 31:31-34||Promise of a new covenant||203: Hail to the Lord's Annointed
368: My Hope Is Built
|Plea for a renewed relationship
Maintaining a righteous relationship
|407: Close to Thee
430: O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
606: Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine
|John 12:20-33||Commitment to a relationship||256: We Would See Jesus
714: I Know Whom I Have Believed
|Hebrews 5:5-10||The humble made High Priest||368: My Hope Is Built
379: Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow
The last two years during Lent I have selected Featured Hymns to go along with themes and stories instead of the scripture passages in the Revised Common Lectionary. This year I'm focusing on Ministry Gifts. I don't pretend to be an "expert" in the area, but have been studying it for the last few years and will be presenting my study and survey to an adult Sunday School class for five weeks beginning on April 9. You are invited to participate, too.
The survey will be online, along with the outline for the class. The first week will deal with Gifts of Perception. Here is some of the introductory material for the session:
Spiritual gifts are manifestations of God's Spirit in people. In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul compared different spiritual gifts to different parts of the body. Although the foot is not a hand, it is still part of the body and serves a useful purpose. Although the ear is not an eye, it is still a part of the body and serves a useful purpose. Similarly, each spiritual gift serves a useful purpose in the body of Christ. Some gifts might be compared to the feet; others to the hands; others to eyes or ears. They are all different, but they are all useful and they all depend on each other.
This week we are focusing on gifts that might be compared to our "senses"sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. In our physical bodies, we use our senses to gather information so that we can remember facts, react to situations, or simply enjoy the pleasures of God's world around us. People experience these senses to different degrees. For example, some people have excellent vision, others have poor vision, and still others are blind. Blindness and poor vision are sometimes called "vision impairments." To overcome vision impairments, people might wear glasses or rely on someone with better vision. They might rely on other senses such as hearing or smell. They might familiarize themselves with their homes so that they can move from room to room with confidence. By taking appropriate steps, people can function in spite of physical, sensory impairments. They still have to deal with their limitations, but the physical impairments do not diminish the sacred worth of the person.
In John 9, Christ spoke of spiritual blindness. The Pharisees did not realize that Christ was speaking metaphorically, and His statements confused them. In effect, they had a "spiritual vision impairment." They were suffering from a lack of spiritual perception. However, they would not acknowledge their impairments and could not grow beyond them.
As with physical impairments, impairments of spiritual perception can be addressed. Spending time in prayer and devotion can improve spiritual vision the same way that glasses improve physical vision. Listening to the preaching of the Word can provide spiritual guidance the same way that a blind person receives guidance by holding onto the arm of a friend. Studying the scriptures can establish a familiarity with Biblical teaching that enables us to act confidently within our faith.
Every person deals with impairments of spiritual perception to some degree. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Cor. 13:12--NIV). Even though his "vision" was impaired, Paul accepted what he could "see." Even though his knowledge was limited, he used what he knew. By accepting his own limitations and working from God's strength, Paul was used as an effective and influential Apostle.
Gifts that involve perception include discernment, dreams, faith, interpretation of tongues, knowledge, visions, and wisdom. Because they are so closely related to some of these gifts, prophecy and tongues are also covered in this lesson.
I hope you will join us at http://www.HymnSite.com/giftsurvey. May we all be good stewards of the gifts we have received from God.
God bless you--
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|
|Materials on Ministry Gifts Copyright © 2000 by CARadke. All rights reserved. Individual, personal use online is authorized and encouraged. For information about other uses or signing up a group for the course write to GiftSurvey@HymnSite.com.|