by Gail Heidtke
For as in one body, we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we who are many, are one Body in Christ, and individually members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.
September 11, 2001. Most of us remember just where we were and what we were doing when we saw/heard/experienced the news of the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The plane downed in Pennsylvania. We remember the blue, blue sky and the unbelievable news.
That Tuesday morning, I was with the Tuesday morning circle group meeting at our church. I’m not sure that I remember any circle meeting concerns or planning as we all sat in horrified silence around the table. I do remember that we prayed. Tammie, our circle Bible study leader, led us in prayer, chanting “Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world “(from the Holden Evening Prayer) “The light no darkness can overcome…Let your light scatter the darkness and shine within your people here.”
And we prayed for victims and survivors, rescuers and all. Each woman circled around that table, shared the gift of prayer, whether silent or spoken or sung. Each uniquely gifted, each united in faith and love and grief, each calling on their gifts to encourage and uphold, to uplift one another, individually gifted yet members of one another, circled in love.
It’s one of the things I most admire about the circles of Women of the ELCA in whatever form they may take in each congregation. Individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ—song, prayer, hospitality, compassion, service, Bible study leading, and so many more.
We have gifts to share, and circle offerings to share, gathered to contribute to support a local women’s shelter, or to compensate a childcare person during meetings, to pay for a gift subscription to Gather magazine for a new member, to offer support in other ways in which our circle offerings may be used. We share our offerings, we share our gifts.
Most importantly, we are gifts to one another, to be together in heartbreak, to pray together in hope. To move together into our future with God’s encouraging Spirit.
Thanks be to God for all the gifts, generously given, graciously shared.
We pray: Generous God, we thank you for the gifts you have given us. Bless us to use them in service to you and to one another. Unite us by your Spirit and help us to acknowledge the gifts we are to one another. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The Rev. Gail Heidtke is a retired ELCA pastor living in Palatine, Il.
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