“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Grace and peace to you in this Easter Season! I feel a deepening sense of the new life emerging at St. Barnabas. Maybe you do too.
It is evident in the small groups that met throughout the Lenten season, and as we welcome new members into our church, and in the amazing and varied ways that our community loves and serves our neighbors.
We are being invited to imagine a future with hope and to see where the Holy Spirit will lead us next.
Sometimes stepping into the future can feel overwhelming or we sense our own inadequacy in the face of the challenges of our time.
How can we be the church that the world needs now as this pandemic ends and we heal from the wounds of the past few years? How can we share God’s love with all people and be a place of transformative grace and action?
When You Don't Feel Qualified
When I was in high school, I was asked to lead a youth retreat for other high school students. At the time, my parents were going through a divorce and I felt a bit confused about my faith and what God was doing. In so many ways, I didn’t feel qualified to be asked to be a leader.
On the last day of the retreat, I was supposed to stand up in front of the church, a room full of adults and all of my peers and speak.
I was terrified—I had no idea what to say. I know many of you are smiling now but my younger self was much less confident about public speaking, and this was basically my first sermon.
Right before the worship service began, all the other retreat staff and the adult leaders laid hands on me and prayed for me.
Photo by Rosie Sun via Unsplash
I remember it as one of those charged moments where you feel an energy that is not your own run through your body.
I went out to speak and I have no idea what I said. To this day, it is all fuzzy.
All I know is that whatever I said, they weren’t my words. God’s words flowed through me.
God Loves Unlikely Leaders
God tends to use the least likely people to accomplish God’s mission.
This Sunday, we will hear the story of Peter, who denied Jesus three times, and yet is named as the “Rock” upon whom Jesus would build the church.
We'll also hear about Paul, who persecuted the early followers of Jesus, but is transformed through God’s Spirit to carry the good news throughout the ancient world.
Again and again, God invites those who don’t feel qualified to be leaders. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower and encourage us.
The Easter season is a season for praying for the Holy Spirit to fall fresh upon us once again. As followers of Jesus, we believe that God’s Spirit is still empowering us to grow both as individuals and as a community of faith.
An Invitation for Reflection
How is Holy Spirit on the move in our church? What are the ways that God is inviting you to offer yourself and your gifts to our community?
As we grow, we need the spiritual gifts of all God’s people. Near and far, young and old, those who aren’t sure and those who are full of confidence, those who are weak, those who are strong, each and every person has gifts that are needed to bring about God’s dream.
We hope you will join us now in thinking of new ways that we can grow as a community of faith. May we continue to listen to the Holy Spirit and together discern how God is moving in our lives and through St. Barnabas.