Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Epiphany 2
Series C

From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Spiritual Stir-Fry!"
1 Corinthians 12:1-11

 A. Every Christian has at least one spiritual (supernatural) gift

B. These gifts are differently manifested but have the same source

C. These gifts are used for the common good and to glorify God


1. "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." (Emile Zola, 1840-1902)

2. "For Paul, diversity that serves to strengthen communal unity is the only accurate understanding of the Spirit's many manifestations." (Homiletics, January 18, 1998)

3. "You're unique--just like everybody else!" (Selected)

4. A little boy wandered from his South Dakota home some years ago. The parents couldn't find him. State police, Boy Scouts, neighbors and others joined in the search. For three days these hundreds of people moved through the prairie, hoping to find the boy before he succumbed to the elements. On the morning of the fourth day, one of the searchers said, "Let us get organized in one long line. We'll join hands and sweep up and down the prairie until we find the boy. He can't have gone very far." They formed a line a quarter of a mile long. They made an impressive sight as they began to move through the prairie holding hands. On the third sweep they found the boy. The cold prairie nights had taken their toll. He was lying dead, in a small ditch behind some brush. Gently the boy's body was carried to where the mother was waiting. When they put the dead boy in his mother's arms, there was complete silence for a moment. Then she looked up and said: "Why didn't you join hands sooner? Why didn't you join hands sooner?" (Homiletics, January 19, 1992)

5. Instead of worrying about being "politically correct," we need a new ethos of oneness, of fellowship and cooperation, not based on the image of a "melting pot." Historians have suggested both a "salad bowl" and a "stir-fry" analogy to describe how different racial and ethnic groups can and should be brought together, yet remain unassimilated enough so that what is unique about each is not lost. Yale historian Carl Degler explains that "though the salad is an entity, the lettuce can still be distinguished from the chicory, the tomatoes from the cabbage." Raymond Winbush, Vice-Provost and Director of Black Cultural Studies at Vanderbilt University thinks that the "stir-fry" image is more accurate. In stir-frying there is a flavoring that takes place so none of the elements remain the same, but none submerges its identity." It will not be easy, this uniting of various groups while they remain dynamic and autonomous. One thing about stir-frying, in order to maintain the integrity of all the ingredients and still get them cooked, the flame must be kept extremely hot. But the church can complete this recipe through our one uniting issue: Christ! (Ibid)

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Director

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