by Father William M. Joensen
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
[1Cor 12: 4-6]Good babysitters and daycare personnel come at a premium these days. There is something gifted about the person who can overcome the sadness and fear experienced when mom or dad drops a child off and steps away. Part of the task is to redirect the child's attention to something colorful, curious,entertaining in that moment--some partial good that can distract the child from his or her own sadness, the awareness of the absent good. There is something charismatic about the manner of a worthy babysitter, the creativity of a devoted daycare provider. Who they are is not a diversion, a surrogate, but a participation in--a reference to--the love and presence of the parent. Trust and peace are engendered not simply in the learned awareness that mom or dad will return at the end of the day; rather, because the caretaker allows the longing for reunion to be a source of expectation, hope, and joy.
The Spirit is no surrogate, but the alter ego for Christ's activity of mutual service, secure belonging, and enduring presence. The Spirit does not level difference into an uninflected monotone, but parses and punctuates gifts for the good of everyone who is to produce and partake in the varied activity of Spirit.
The one who seek to fill himself first ends up only being full of oneself. In contrast, our primary work is to be an ongoing refraction of the Spirit's sufficiency. We communicate the tenderness of God who is always present as parent, lover, friend. We realize that no one is meant to be more that a heartbeat away from the cadence of God's compassion, the embrace of mercy. Child of God care is the consecrated service produced in everyone generated by god--the God whose sameness is not something profane, but the point of departure for diverse gifts to be expressed.Spirit of the living God, your presence wells up in me as I will to witness on your behalf. Endow me with strength; counsel me with creativity and insight; grace my gestures and speech with your gentleness and love. do not abandon me, but draw me ceaselessly into the company of the Father and the son, the same God now and always.
And the reassurance of a Loving Father that God is the same now and always. For what more could we ask?
Thanks be to God!
Thanks be to God!