Romans 12:1-8 (NRSVA)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
In this reading Paul is inviting us into a new life. Like a good coach he’s not giving us blanket encouragement or blanket criticism. He’s setting us a goal and giving us a sense of how to get there.
He’s not saying you’re all amazing. He’s not saying you’re all rubbish. He is saying we’re all gifted…but we’re also flawed and we’re all different and crucially that’s important. We have different things to do and different ways of being. We are intended to work together. It is in our intention to collaborate and cooperate, to conspire and configure. As a disciple of Jesus you are part of a team. You’re a unique, gifted player. But you’re part of a team.
Sometimes we sulk and say “It’s my ba I’m goin hame” because we think that people don’t get that we are right — that we know best. We lack humility, a sense of perspective and a sense of humour. As children, and as adults, we benefit from learning through games the skills of cooperation and coordination that help us to avoid complacency and arrogance.
Pacemaker, pioneer and perfecter!
Help us learn from the creativity and vitality and stoicism
of runners and leapers,
divers and strikers.
Show us how to work together
to excel together
to triumph together
to struggle together
to fail together
to lose together.
Help us to ‘be’ together.