The Word in the Wings
The Word in the Wings > From the studio: work with each other
From the studio: work with each other
By: GABRIELLE BYRNES
Editor’s note: Company artist Gabrielle Byrnes led a study of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 a few weeks ago and helped all the dancers consider the significance of comparing the Body of Christ, or the church, to a physical human body. Here are some of her takeaways from her study, what the other dancers found in the passage, and how this passage connects to the Tower of Babel and to following Jesus today.
WHAT ARE THE GREATER GIFTS?
1 Corinthians 12 has always been one of my favorite passages in the Bible because of its analogies. It talks about parts of our body working together to make one whole body while also connecting this idea to us being the body of Christ. I thought it was a good passage to reflect and meditate on our individual gifts that represent the Body of Christ.
As I read this passage I noticed repetition of the phrases “one body,” ”whole body,” through “Christ” or through the “Spirit,” continuing on the idea that we are also one in Christ. A question I had was about how in verse 31, Paul mentions “the greater gifts.” I was wondering, what are those greater gifts? Another question that I had was, in verse 22 and 23, why does Paul mention “weaker” and “less honorable” parts when he has just spoken about everyone being equal and each being important?
In answering some of the questions I found that I had to read ahead to the next chapter or look at the verses before this section to answer them. In chapter 13 Paul refers to love being the greatest gift of all; without it we are nothing. God gives different gifts to different people, but love is for all, and love is the fruit of the spirit. The parts of the body must work together just as members of the Body of Christ need to work together to build one another up in love.
The dancers had many interesting insights to the passage. Someone mentioned a comparison between “drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13) and Jesus saying, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink” (John 7:37-38). Someone else asked about verse 26, which says that “when one member suffers, all suffer with it,” asking if this meant suffering with them and walking with them. As a group we discussed ideas from the passage that I hadn’t noticed before; they connected sections to other passages they’ve read.
I appreciated the connections they made, and I learned from their observations. Reading the passage again brought up new questions and more awareness of what Paul was trying to accomplish. Meditating on these passages in a group setting helps me better understand my own questions and I am appreciative that we get the space to do that every week!
Both 1 Corinthians 12 and Genesis 11 have overlapping ideas and relate to the heart of God. We understand that God wants us to use our individual gifts and come together as a whole. Love is what unites us together. Genesis 11 has this similar idea of the people coming together to create something for God but their intentions are wrong; they start to build for themselves, not God. God scatters the people so that they will be confused. But the whole reason he scattered was because he wanted the people to use their different gifts and languages to praise him. He is using different parts of the body to come together as a whole in the Body of Christ. Learning about God in these two passages has helped me understand how powerful God’s words and actions are. God always has a plan for us and he’s always teaching us lessons to help us grow in our faith. As I learn and grow in my faith I pray that the Lord continues to show me how my spiritual gifts can be used for his glory.
PART OF THE BODY
As I pursue dancing with Glorify, I want to use my gifts to praise the Lord and help spread the greater purpose of loving others through both movement and expression. As we prepare for our ballet about the Tower of Babel in May, I am thinking about the message of both Genesis 11 and 1 Corinthians 12 that God wants us to use our unique gifts to build off each other and work with each other (even though it may be hard) to praise him. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (NLT). Even though we may scatter and be confused, we can use our gifts individually to help one another and worship the Lord who gave us these things. Even though God confuses people’s languages in Genesis 11, ultimately God reveals that we can worship him in our different languages, if we are doing it out of love. Once we understand that the purpose of our gifts is love, we can use them to build each other up and be the Body of Christ.God created each of us to have specific gifts, and with those gifts we must love one another above everything else. Without love we are nothing, which is what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13.
As I reflect on this passage I am continually thinking of ways I can use my gifts to be a part of the Body of Christ. I want to support others in their walk of faith and love others in any way I can. I also want to use my gifts in the church either by teaching or dancing for others. I encourage you to find ways to use your gifts for God’s purpose!
See Gabrielle’s ideas in motion as Glorify Dance Theatre performs Babel at GPA’s 5th Birthday Party! RSVP here to join us on May 20, 2023.
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