For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:12-13
It was a moment of grace for me last Thursday evening! I was granted a glimpse of the wondrous, colossal mosaic that God is creating in Christ. This epiphany, of sort, happened to me in a rather unusual way.
It began as I was sitting in our living room, quietly reading a presentation to the Moscow Theological Academy by the Russian Orthodox churchman, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh. I did not know the man, and his name seemed rather strange to my Western ears, but I quickly warmed to him as I read his address, “For Me Life Is Christ.” Speaking in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War, in 1983, he said:
“From my very early years, as soon as I, as a fourteen year old boy, read the Gospels, I felt that there could be no other aim in life except sharing with others that life transforming joy which had been granted to me in coming to know God in Christ. Then, when still an adolescent, I began to speak about Christ, whether it was appropriate or not – at school, in the Metro, and in our youth camps – how He had revealed himself to me, as life, as joy, as meaning, as something so totally new that all was renewed.”
I had just paused to re-read and savor Anthony’s words, when my on-call pager chirped. I was being called to the hospital that night to meet with a patient before his liver transplant at midnight.
What a delight it was for me when I walked into a patient’s room and saw an African-American man, propped up in bed, reading his Bible and smiling. Then as this Pentecostal believer spoke to me of his faith in Christ, I thought: This man sounds just like Metropolitan Anthony in far off Moscow! For him as well, life is Christ.”
I sat there and marveled that the same Spirit that made life new for a Russian teen years before, was the same Spirit bubbling up life in the Pentecostal brother.
What a wondrous thing our God is doing, I thought. We may speak different languages and come from different times and places. We may worship in ways very different. But having drunk of the same Spirit we are one. And life is new, and life is good.
Watching for Spirit!
Weekly Bible Classes with Tim Smith
At the Franciscan Renewal Center
(Garces Room of Piper Hall)
Wednesday Noon – 1:00 P.M.
Songs for Life’s Journey: The Psalms of Ascent
Wednesday Evening 7:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
Profiles of Spiritual Maturity: The Letter of James