Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 3 (CEB)
3 Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. 3 Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? 4 When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit? 5 After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants who helped you to believe. Each one had a role given to them by the Lord: 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. 7 Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. 9 We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"
He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"
He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"
Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.
– Emo Philips, The Guardian, 29 Sept 2005
We may or may not chuckle at the joke, but we know at a deeper level that this human division is more often true than not. It seems that lines to divide are drawn often at our work, at our church, and in our homes and relationships. There seems to be a very real “us versus them” mentality. The us and the them is vague at times which complicates everything.
Whatever is in the future regarding divisions at any level, Paul encourages us to keep the main things the plain things. We need to not spend major time on minor things in our lives, work or church. We do not need to lose our First Love. This is not to say that divisions do not need to happen. But may they be seldom and only when necessary. A quote attributed to St. Augustine helps us out during times of division. “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
May we work together and guard each person’s dignity and save each one’s pride so they will know we are Christians by our love as we co-labor. Amen.
-- Pastor Bianca Elliott
Prayer for Reflection
I’m (Jesus) not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. (John 17:20-21) Amen.
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