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Homily for 1/22/12 - aftertheoph - our various gifts

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  • Fr David Moser
    Ephesians 4:7-13 We have all seen fireworks displays especially around Independence day or on the New Year. Specially constructed rockets filled with different
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2012
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      Ephesians 4:7-13

      We have all seen fireworks displays especially around Independence day
      or on the New Year. Specially constructed rockets filled with different
      explosive compounds are fired into the air and there detonated, each one
      creating a unique pattern of light and color in the night sky. Each
      rocket is different in composition and yet each one is the same in
      essence. The different colors and patterns are created by applying heat
      and flame to the different combinations of chemicals and powders inside
      the rocket as it ascends into the heavens. The fire that touches the
      rockets is the same, but each separate compound responds in a unique way
      to the touch of that fire. That variety of reactions is what produces
      the beautiful patterns of light and color that we see in the sky.

      The Apostle Paul today tells us that in the Church there are a variety
      of gifts and functions within the Church. He says that “unto every one
      of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. …
      And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists;
      and some, pastors and teachers …” Like the skyrockets which paint
      patterns in the sky, we are all touched by the same fire – the grace of
      God – but each one of us then responds in a unique manner depending on
      our own personalities and characteristics. The list of these various
      responses given by the Apostle is, of course, not exhaustive – there are
      more than 5 kinds of people in the world – but it does serve to give us
      an example of some of the different responses to the touch of God’s
      grace. The important lesson here is not to pour over the various lists
      of the gifts and callings of God listed in the scripture in order to
      determine which ones are yours, but rather to recognize that you do
      indeed have a unique response to the grace of God and knowing this to
      use your gifts in the best manner possible for your salvation.

      How then are our gifts to be used? Again we return to the words of the
      Apostle, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the
      ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” These gifts are given
      to us “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work … for the …body of
      Christ”. Here the English language is a bit unclear in that the wording
      implies that these are three equal purposes – the saints, the work, the
      Church. In fact the implication in Greek is that these gifts are given
      to the saints, in order that they might accomplish the work of the
      ministry and that they might edify (build up) the Church. This is an
      important distinction because it places the responsibility for using our
      gifts directly upon us and makes us responsible for fulfilling the work
      of Christ in the world and the building of up of the Church. God has
      given us the tools, now it is up to us to use them.

      Here we are returned to our first question with a bit of direction –
      what are my unique gifts, what are those tools that God has given me
      with which to do His work and to build up His Church? As an answer to
      the question, the Apostle gets us started with his list, “some are..
      apostles … prophets … evangelists … pastors … teachers …” Indeed this
      does get us started but the list does not stop here for these aren’t the
      only ones in the Church. There are administrators, organizers,
      financiers, cooks, bakers, singers, readers, cleaners, welcomers,
      friends, builders, artists, and on and on. How do you know which is your
      calling? Simply look around and do that which God puts in front of you
      each day. Do you have an opportunity to teach someone else today? then
      be the best teacher that you can. Do you have an opportunity to organize
      some good work today? then create the best work that you can. Do you
      have the chance to finance the Church today? then give from what God has
      given you. Do you have the chance to sing? then sing. Do you have the
      chance to serve? then serve. Do you have the chance to cook and clean?
      then cook and clean. Do you have the chance to be a friend to someone
      today? then be a friend. Look around and see what God has put in front
      of you today. What opportunities do you see? Do those things. In this
      way fulfill the calling of God for you today. Perhaps tomorrow you will
      have the same opportunity, or perhaps another will present itself to
      you. Take advantage of every chance that God brings to you each day to
      fulfill His purpose for you – that you might use the gifts that He has
      given you for the work of the ministry and for the building up of the
      Church.

      For our encouragement, the Apostle also reveals to us the ultimate goal
      of all this work. He says that we do these things, “Till we all come in
      the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
      perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:”
      Our goal is to come together (in unity) and through knowing the Son of
      God to become ourselves the perfect man which is measured against the
      standard of Jesus Christ. In other words, through the grace of God, we
      are becoming perfect, we are becoming one with the god/man Jesus Christ.
      This is why we have this grace and all these various gifts – that we
      might be united to one another and so also be united with Christ. This
      is our final goal.

      We are each touched by the fire of God’s grace and from the essence of
      our being we each respond differently to the touch of that grace – with
      different colors and patterns – resulting in a variety of different
      expressions of the Holy Spirit in us. We use these gifts in a variety of
      ways, each having a different ministry within the Church. But we all
      work towards the same end; using these gifts of God and working
      according to the opportunities which He provides for us each day, that
      we might together administer God’s love to the world and build up the
      Body of Christ, that is the Church. In this way we fulfill our common
      purpose that being united to one another we are also united to Christ
      and perfected in Him. Together then we will enter into the Kingdom of
      God – together with one another and together with Christ – and together
      we will stand before the throne of God and together we will hear the
      words from God, “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into
      the joy of your Lord.”


      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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