Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gifts and service

In my last post, I lamented that the choir at the church I attend is, unfortunately, not doing its duty as I think it should. Perhaps it is not even for me to say such a thing though it is clearly the elephant in the room. I also lamented that we have a great many people in our congregation who are gifted in some singing capacity yet will not join our choir simply because they too are frustrated with the knowledge of what goes on up in the choir loft when the choir is not singing. I posted a tract from Bishop BASIL who wrote that it is sinful (his word) for someone not to use the gift of his voice at the Liturgy.

At the same time, not everyone is gifted with a voice or an ability to make or even appreciate music. And that's OK. St. Paul tells us that we are all gifted in different areas. But too many people believe that their respective giftings should be translated to service only at the Liturgy. So, someone who is a good speaker should preach the sermon? Someone who is a polyglot should concelebrate and translate the service into other languages? Someone who is a good dancer should dance at the altar? Someone who is a gifted instrumentalist should play during the distribution? Of course, we would say no to any of such suggestions. St. Paul's listing of gifts should not be regarded as things that should be translated to the Liturgy. He is talking about our whole life in the church. And yet, it seems that there is a constant attack on the liturgy to somehow be "inclusive" of everyone and their respective gifts. If a person is a good and eloquent speaker, can not his skills be put to use outside of the liturgy? If a person is a good speaker of foreign languages, cannot his skills be used to translate the gospel for those who have never heard it? Why do people automatically assume their gifts are to be used only during Liturgy? Our life should be a spiritual one and yet we live most of our lives outside the church. Should we not employ our gifts there?

My thanks to Pr. Peters for good thoughts to inspire this little piece.

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