Main Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a (Nehemiah 8:1-3,5-6,8-10; Luke 4:14-21)

Nehemiah was called to return to the Holy City and help to restore its strength. One of the important steps was to build the wall to protect them. Careful reading of Nehemiah, however, will show that the wall was only a sign of strength and protection. First, they needed to renew their relationship with God. To do this, they had to seek God’s voice through the sharing of the law. In the Gospel reading, Jesus comes home and shares his mission with his own people. He announces that in him the prophesy is fulfilled and he has come to liberate and restore. The greater gifts lead to freedom, renewal, and joy in the Lord for those who find themselves alone and rejected. Paul calls on the people of Corinth to not be distracted and divided by their limited human gifts and resources. Instead, he calls us to look beyond these divisions and seek the greater gifts that come through relationship with God and each other. May we look beyond all the distractions and differences of view and perspective as a community of faith and strive for the greater gifts in Jesus Christ! Then we will find the joy of the Lord truly is our strength!