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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:12–17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NRSV)

The concept of gifts (especially spiritual gifts) can influence how we engage in the shared life of our faith communities. Often we try to identify our gifts and then discern opportunities to act or serve that engage these gifts. But what if simply doing what comes naturally to us isn’t the only key to living out a faithful response to our creator?

E. O. Wilson wrote about our abilities and genetic predispositions, saying that “the channels of human mental development are circuitous and variable. Rather than specify a single trait, human genes prescribe the capacity to develop a certain array of traits. In some categories of behavior, the array is limited and the outcome can be altered only by strenuous training—if ever. In others, the array is vast and the outcome easily influenced.”

Choice, or at least intentional direction of our development, then can have an effect on who we become; it can change our behavior and our capabilities. It’s not simply enough for me to say that compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, a forgiving mind, and most importantly a loving heart don’t come naturally to me. The author of Colossians calls on me to choose these things—to clothe myself in them. For, as Episcopal priest Carter Heyward points out, “Love does not just happen. . . . Love is a choice.”

So in response to God’s gracious presence in Jesus Christ and mindful of the suffering Jesus willingly endured to stand in solidarity with us, let us make the intentional choice to clothe ourselves in the spiritual gifts that will unite us in nature and purpose with God.

God of our choices, give me the strength to choose to live out your forgiveness and love, even when my natural impulses tend toward anger, resentment, and hatred. As we do so, may we reflect the glory of Jesus, who made your strength to shine forth from frail human flesh. Amen.

Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism

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