There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
Pentecost Sunday is full of spectacle. Images of the Spirit as wind and fire abound. We see art saturated with halos and bright colors and huge flying doves. We hear of the disciples speaking in tongues as they are astounded and amazed to understand each other.
I have to admit, on Pentecost I usually feel a little insecure. I have never spoken in tongues. I don’t have a dramatic conversion story or spiritual gifts that have flare. I feel a great disconnect between my spirituality and the stories surrounding Pentecost. That is why I love that this reading above from 1 Corinthians shows up on Pentecost, too.
It is such a human thing to compare spiritualities and place values on gifts, and we do it all the time. Isn’t it easy to turn something beautiful into a competition? Because I have a fairly quiet spirituality, Pentecost is a day when I am usually jealous of people with loud spiritual gifts. I wish I was the person who was good at praying aloud or singing hymns in a way that brings others to tears. I wish I would be so moved by the Spirit that I could know what it would feel like to speak in tongues. I want the fire and wind. I want the spectacle.
This reading reminds me that in God’s eyes, there is no spiritual gift that is better than another. My quiet spirituality is the way the Spirit works authentically through me. There is room for all of us in God’s family. In fact, diversity of gifts is essential to a healthy community. There is no right or wrong way for the Spirit to move toward God’s will of love and peace. This Pentecost, I am going to focus on 1 Corinthians, and celebrate how the Spirit breathes life in and through me.
Have you ever caught yourself being jealous of someone else’s spiritual gifts?
What are your spiritual gifts?
How can you nurture the Spirit in you?Photo courtesy of dagberg via Creative Commons License