by REV. DAVID MEYERS
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church
As spring has unfolded around us, the church has walked the Great Fifty Days of the Easter Season, gave a passing nod to Ascension Day, and now, as of last Sunday, has entered the season of Pentecost. The Day of Pentecost is remembered as the time in which the Holy Spirit came upon the gathered Apostles with great wind and fire. The outpouring of the Spirit gave them greater understanding, inspired preaching, and gifts they never knew they had in bringing the Good News to the world. The Mystery of the Holy Spirit is the indwelling Presence of God in our lives and in our world. The Spirit sustains all things, encourages all goodness, is in all, is over all, and is doing more in us than we can ask and imagine.
Just like the Apostles, the Spirit continues to enter each person with all-consuming love that is manifested in gifts and skills. The Bible refers to seven spiritual gifts, but there are as many gifts as there are people. Each person is endowed with spiritual gifts at baptism.
As Thomas Merton wrote, “We get a name in baptism. That is because the depths of our soul are stamped, by that holy sacrament, with a supernatural identification, which will eternally tell us who we were meant to be. Our baptism, which drowns us in the death of Christ, summons upon us all the sufferings of our life: their mission is to help us work out the pattern of our identity received in the sacrament.”
It becomes, then, the mission of all of us to not only discover ourselves but live into our gifts.
For some, gifts are easy to recognize. For others, the search is more elusive. Sometimes we know our own gifts. Oftentimes, however, gifts must be identified and named by others. This is the value of the worshiping community. When gathering in the name of Christ, we enter a fellowship in which gifts are honored, nurtured, respected, and celebrated. Realizing all are different, may hold different beliefs, may even entertain opposing viewpoints, the inclusive church becomes stronger. The Christian community creates a marvelous tapestry that can overcome the world in furthering the Kingdom of God.
Living in the Spirit with an awareness of spiritual gifts, people grow into completeness. Life becomes richer, more meaningful, and more connected. If we never have identified or have neglected our gifts, we live a life of incompleteness, always slightly off track, often questioning our meaning.
It seems essential, therefore, that to live into our intended wholeness, we must discover and nurture the spiritual components of our being. Striving for balance in physical, spiritual, and emotional health only can come when people are connected with the Source of being and thinking. Enter the days of Pentecost rejoicing in your gifts and resolving to use them for the greater good and, if your gifts have been elusive, to connect with people who can bring out the best that God has planted deep within you.