In Faith Moments, Odalis Turincio shares her thoughts on living out her faith and how we can grow closer to God. Take a moment to join other members of our community every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 8:30A.
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Faith Moments. I’m so glad to have you here with me, sharing in this time, for us to just be considering faith for a few moments, and to think about what God might be saying. It’s my privilege to get to share this time together with you and to just share a little bit about what God’s been speaking to me, challenging me on, and inviting me into. My sincere prayer for these moments has been for Him to do the same for you. For Him to meet you exactly where you are. For Him to speak His life, His love, His healing, and His joy over your life.
Today we’ll just spend a few minutes together talking about perspective, our faith, and our perspective. If you have a Bible handy, please grab it if you can. Your phone will work great as well. We’ll just be in 1 Corinthians and Ephesians. Those are in the New Testament. We’ll get to those together and I’ll have the verses on the screen as well. Before we start, I would just love to pray to welcome in the Lord, and then we’ll dive right in.
Father God, I thank you for this morning. Jesus, I thank you for your love and for your kindness over us. I thank you for these minutes that we have together. For everyone who’s tuning in here live and also anyone who watches after the fact. God, if you bring this video to their attention, that you would just bless all of us with your presence. That you would give us the gift of the knowledge of who you are in deeper ways. For some of us, it’s a newer journey. For some of us, it’s a longer experience, God, no matter what you are the same, you are good and in control. We thank you for this time, Jesus, and we pray for your blessing over it. In your beautiful name, we pray. Amen.
It’s been quite a week this week on top of everything. I don’t want to be too repetitive and talk about Covid life right now, right? But 2020 is a year I don’t think we’ll forget. 2020 is a year that God can still do, has been doing, and will continue doing some amazing things. I remember Saturday night or Sunday morning, my husband and I woke up right along with so many of you I’m sure, to thunderstorms and lightning. I found myself just in awe at what we were seeing. We caught some video of it in slow motion, played it back, and were just absolutely in this feeling of awe and wonder about God, about creation, all those things.
Now, a few days later, we’re looking at a state that’s ravaged by fires. I know we’ve been praying for the Lord to intervene, for Him to keep everyone safe, for that to end as quickly as possible. God, even now, we just ask for your peace, for your resolution, Lord. If possible, bring some rain, but especially keep those safe who are most affected by this, Jesus.
Really what it caused me to think about is how quickly our circumstances and our perspectives can shift. I find myself deeply grateful to be in a community of other people following Jesus, pursuing Him, sharing about Him, and living life together to be walking through this year, this really tumultuous year with others. Grateful for others who have different gifts, perspectives, experiences, and burdens. Together, we make a whole, a body, as the scriptures talk about it, with Christ as the center of who we are. Together, with Christ, we’re stronger than any part, we’re more whole than any part by itself. That’s what I wanted to sit with together. It can be really easy to talk about community in an idealistic way. Like it’s problem-free, always great and easy, but the reality is that it’s not. It’s not always easy to jump in, to connect, to feel like we fit and belong when sometimes we think, feel, and experience something so different from others.
Why is that, that in our smaller circles, in our larger circles, we can find ourselves sort of almost at odds because of the different pages we’re on? There’s that saying, I don’t know it well enough, I will try not to butcher it, but I might butcher it, I’m sorry. If you have a few people who are blind and they’re all touching different parts of an elephant. One person feels the leg and thinks it’s a tree. One feels the trunk and thinks it’s a snake. It’s the same thing, but their perspectives are different. It informs them of something different along the way without looking at the whole.
As I’ve been doing my devotions, I figured I’d share because my notes are all over it. I won’t show them to you super clearly, but I’ve been going through Ephesians. I started reading through. This is from She Reads Truth. It just walks you through different topics or books in the Bible. You sit and spend a longer period of time looking at shorter passages. I found that really life-giving, to slow down in my devotions. As I was reading Ephesians, I was really struck by some of the discussions about community and our perspective. So bear with me. I had this thought and I’m hoping it can be helpful for you because I have found it helpful for me.
When we’re thinking about perspective, we can think about, or I thought about our sense of vision. We’ve got two eyes. Those of us who are healthy and blessed with a sense that often we take for granted, we’ve got two eyes. They work together to help us see the world. For me, my eyesight is a little worse in my left eye and neither can see super great at night or at a distance. Hence the glasses you will just about always see on my face.
Here’s what I was thinking. If our perspective is connected to understanding. I know it’s more complex than this, but if our perspective is connected to our understanding of principles, such as how the world should be versus our experiences, and how we’ve seen how the world actually is. The balance between principles and experiences gives us our perspective. We can’t ever expect all of us to see the world in the same way. We have a different understanding sometimes of how the world should be. We certainly all have different experiences that make up our understanding of how the world actually is. If each person has a different balance, different weight sort of on the same, again, overly simplified scale, then finding the space together, it’s actually really difficult.
Sometimes we really nail our perspective. We’re mature. We’re fair. We’re wise. However, other times we’re too inexperienced to know better or too jaded from poor experiences to trust the principles which we used to rely on to be so good. Community is like this. Community is a bunch of imperfect, variously consistent, broken healing people with different perspectives and we come together around Christ. Our priorities are different, even though we have a common bond, and our expression of the same things can still be different. Think about worship, everybody worships differently. It doesn’t mean one person’s worship is more or less accurate as long as it’s in spirit and in truth. We have a different expression.
Maybe you’ve wondered, maybe you’ve felt before, “Well, if my perspective is so different from the people immediately around me, how can I fit in? If my priorities are so different if my experience of a certain thing is so different, how can I fit?” Again, I know this is a simplified conversation, but I’m a person who tends toward the principles, so bear with me. I’m a person who, it’s my youth, it’s my inexperience, but the principles for me, I rely on them to be true in order to inform how I see the world.
The apostle Paul talks a lot about the body and its experience as a community, the body of Christ. He talks about it a lot as a body with many different parts that are functioning together. At the end of 1 Corinthians 12, he spent a lot of time talking about the body. How an ear can’t look at an eye and say, “Well, because I’m not like an eye, I don’t fit in here.” Because if the whole body was an ear, then what would it be? In the end, he says, “So that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other.” In Christ, the whole body works together when each part understands its function. Values its function and each part values all of the others. That we find a place of unity, a common ground without division, but that we have the same concern for one another.
God made us different on purpose. He made each part of the body with a different function on purpose, a different priority, a different perspective. Why? I felt challenged when I was thinking and doing these devotions with the people I have a harder time understanding. A harder time getting their perspective and locking in with them. If the reality and the principle are that together, we make one healthy, functioning body, then part of our burden is to care for one another and each other’s perspectives. We have the same concern for one another in a way that gives us this sense of unity in Christ. Community is not actually easy at all. It’s not actually the easy principle I so often think of. It is a deep, lifelong work that when we come together to do it, valuing each other over ourselves, we find the strength and the unity to walk through whatever circumstances we’re walking through.
The apostle Paul talks about it again in Ephesians 4. This is the invitation of community. “Therefore I, a prisoner in the Lord,” he says, “urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” This is our invitation to bring our perspectives, understanding of our and the Lord’s principles, all of the influences that we’ve had, to bring our experiences, the things we’ve seen, the things we’ve learned, whether they’ve been difficult, strengthening, and joyful, to bring them together before Christ. To choose the community, to choose His unity over the most jaded things that we’ve felt, the hardest experiences, and not minimizing them. The Lord is the one who takes these brutal, difficult seasons that we sometimes walk through and He can grow something incredibly beautiful through them. In Christ, we have a home. Each one of us has a home. Every perspective, every burden, every gift, every strength, and every weakness, there’s a place for each one in Christ. Every part of the body has a different, unique, complex, beautiful function. Every part of it together makes up a beautiful whole.
My prayer for us is that we can find those places. For those of us who are in a season of struggling through the places that our perspective is focused. That we can find the Lord speaking His life and love over us so that we can find the Lord inviting us into deeper places together. Then for those of us who feel confident in the places we found, that God would give us awareness over others near us. If we’re a wrist, maybe the forearm or some fingers, to be invited in, to be doing life together. It’s not separately functioning parts of the body that make up a working body, but all the parts together to make a whole. My prayer is for the Lord to give us an awareness of His love for each of us and His invitation to us. So I would just love to pray for that. I want to invite each of you in the things that you’ve thought of, maybe what feels like a risk to dig in or accept an invitation, that you would find the courage to take it. Let’s pray together.
Father, we thank you for this morning. God, and we thank you that you give us a bond of peace, that you give us a bond of hope, of life, and of healing. God, that where you are, there is just an incredible hope and future that we find. I thank you for everyone who is present, their different gifts, their different experiences, their different burdens, and their hopes. Lord, that together, the mosaic that you create out of all of us pieces is a beautiful picture. It’s not complete without each one, God. It’s greater than any of the parts by themselves.
Father, would you help us to see our invitation in each of us specifically with different gifts? God, would you give us excitement over different ideas to connect deeper? Lord, in this time where we’re physically separated and community looks so different, would you inspire us toward control. God, you have the grace that you have for every season. Lord, through some of the deepest difficulties we experience, you can bring us through with a perspective that is more whole, hopeful, and healed. Father, would you do your work in each of us? I just thank you for this time we’ve had to share together. Jesus, we pray for your blessing and for you to have your way in our community and hearts. We pray these things. Jesus, in your name. Amen. Thank you so much for joining this morning. I pray for the Lord to bless you and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks for the next Faith Moments.