Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 1:3-17
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
The church without division. What a glorious vision that is! But if you are like me and are part of a family, whether biologically or a church family, you know that you won’t always agree with your brother or sister. I spent some time as a staff-parish chair and I know that like our family at home, in a church, feelings get hurt, wounds are opened or deepened, factions will war against each other in subtle ways and all believe they know what is best for the church.
We are in a time of turmoil for our church. Our brothers and sisters have different opinions and thoughts about where the church should be headed and not all agree on the path, let alone the direction. Feelings are hurt, wounds are deep, and sides are being taken.
Paul asks, “Has Christ been divided?” But even Paul knew that the church would face difficulty. We are formed of imperfect people.
I choose to believe that everyone involved in the discernment over our direction truly believes they are trying to do their very best to avoid the emptying of the cross of Christ of its power.
Will there be disappointments? Yes. Will there be hurt feelings, opened wounds? Yes. Will we still have warring factions? Likely.
Will Christ be there with us regardless of the outcome? Yes.
In the days after we will still be called upon to proclaim the gospel. John Wesley’s words will still ring true. We are to do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can.
It is my hope that today and after the special session we can see through our divisions and remember we are a family in Christ.
-Lisa Soukup, Communications Administrative Assistant
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, in this time of anxiety and discernment help us to remember that even families can disagree and be loving toward each other. Help us to listen to one another and remind us that we are all your children.
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