Sunday, 20 November 2016

Five Alive: To Each—from the Fall 2016 Issue of Anglicans for Renewal Magazine

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This is the second part of "Five Alive," a series of short articles on five of Paul’s key points on the who, how and why of the Gifts of the Spirit in his first letter to the Corinthians. I’m calling them

1. Not Lacking
2. To Each
3. The Importance of Being Earnest
4. Church Building
5. A More Excellent Way

The Lord didn’t want the Corinthian Christians, or us, to be uninformed concerning spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12.1). We, at ARM Canada, don’t want Canadian Anglican Christians to be uninformed, either. We want you to know that our church, too, can be blessed with all kinds of Holy Spirit prompted gifts, service and activities, all empowered by God and in everyone (1 Cor 12.4-6).

Note that God doesn’t just empower clergy, or just the super spiritual people, or just men or just women or just people in large parishes. The empowering is for all of us. Even ordinary Anglicans. You are part of God’s all encompassing, amazingly graced “everyone.” So am I.

To Each

Not only are we not lacking any spiritual gifts (1 Cor 1.7), “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12.7). There are no exceptions. The word “each” means every one of two or more people. God himself has given you and empowered you for at least one, but most likely more, Gifts of the Spirit—Gifts divinely designed to work uniquely in and through you so those around you will experience the goodness of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“What gifts?” you might ask? The “manifestation” Gifts Paul lists in Corinthians 12 are a good place to start:

1. utterance (or word) of wisdom
2. utterance (or word) of knowledge
3. faith
4. healing
5. working miracles
6. prophecy
7. discernment of (or distinguishing between) spirits
8. tongues
9. interpretation of tongues.

At least one of these must be available and intended for each of us. The Lord apportions to each one as he wills (1 Cor 12.11)—to one this, to another that.

Did you know Anglicans pray and prophesy in tongues today? Did you know that there are real Anglican prophets? Did you know that Anglicans get words of knowledge and wisdom? Did you know that Anglicans sometimes pray for people and they are healed? Of course you do, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this magazine.

My first experience of one of those gifts that I recognized was when I received a gift of one of the various kinds of tongues (1 Cor 12.10). I had prayed for the gift and asked others to pray for me with varying degrees of intensity for two years before it was finally granted. I didn’t have any idea of what I should do with it or how to use it. I just had read about it and I thought it would be nice to have. One day, in his mercy, God let me have it. It was not an obviously spectacular moment. There were no flashing lights or falling to the floor. Something fluent began and I believe my prayer has been richer ever since.

Which gift(s) has he given you? Have you ever asked? It’s not selfish to ask because when the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are shown in you and me it will always be for the common good. The common good aways comes from and leads to Jesus which means it also always comes from and leads to his Church—his body with us on earth for now.

Have you ever tried the gift(s) the Father has given you out? Does the he have more for you?

If you would like to know more about the gifts and to experience them in your own life and parish contact our office to enquire about having an ARM Canada team come to do an event in your area.