Friday November 5, 2021
The Twelve Days of COPmas: Day 5 – The gift of community
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’
(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
For some of us, the past couple of years almost felt like the Apocalypse. The pandemic, unjust access to vaccinations and healthcare, a heightened awareness of racism, and climate disruption worldwide has brought with it a feeling of the end times. Understanding the etymology of the word ‘apocalypse’, however, gives us a different perspective: kaluptein is the Greek word for ‘to cover’ and apo means ‘un-’, so apokaluptein means to uncover or unveil. While we primarily use the word to mean to destroy or threaten, originally, apocalypse simply meant to reveal something new. The key is that in order to reveal something new, we have to get the old out of the way.
The goal of apocalyptic imagery is to shake people out of their reliance on conventional wisdom and undercut where we often operate on cruise control. Apocalyptic writing deconstructs the “taken-for-granted world” by presenting a completely different universe.
Looking back over all that happened over the past year has unveiled a longing to keep our global community safe. No longer can we think of countries or continents as stand-alone entities but as a community of the Body of Christ. If one part of the body suffers, the other parts suffer too (1 Cor 12:26).
The Body of Christ always reminds me of the Sotho word ‘Ubuntu’, which means ‘I am because we are’. It prompts us to bring our God-given gifts to this global body of Christ and to the earth we love.
Extinction Rebellion and Christian Climate Action have boldly campaigned for us to truly love our planet. We can express our gifts through direct action like this or in other ways, such as craftivism, perhaps making prayer flags for the campaigners. Many of us talk with local politicians or sign petitions. Other parts of the body offer their gifts as educators, prophets or practitioners in their daily life.
What gift can you bring to God’s global community?
Lord of all of creation,
unveil your truth,
reveal your love for your global community.
Take us, shake us and remake us.
Until thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.