Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 15:1 – 20
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.
In our scripture reading Paul is dealing with conflict in the church of Corinth. Some believe the resurrection will happen this way, others believe the resurrection will happen another way. There is infighting and conflict among the body of believers.
As I have thought about this over the last 24 hours, I am reminded of the situation we have within our denomination in regard to human sexuality and in turn how to interpret scriptures. I know this is a long and drawn-out issue and we seem to have little hope that the issues will be resolved in a General Conference this year.
It hurts my heart to hear about churches that are disaffiliating, a new denomination forming and yet I am reminded that the Holy Spirit still walks alongside all of us. We are all one big family. I will admit I am in favor of a more inclusive church. When I say my guiding scripture is the Great Command and I simplify it to four words, “Love God, Love People,” those words mean to love all people. Whether my brother or sister believers that the right thing is to disaffiliate, whether my brother or sister believes it is time for change, whether my brother or sister is just tired of the battle. We are all part of the Kin-dom of God. I am drawn back to the final verse of the reading from 1 Corinthians 15, verse 20, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” Jesus was the first fruits and we are all seeds from the fruit that has been produced since the resurrection.
My hope is that we can continue to build the Kin-dom of God for all people and in so doing find spaces for all people to connect with the divine. I don’t write this devotional to ask for praise or condemnation, but I write this to help all of us remember we are family. May we remember that we are all fruit of the sacrifice that Jesus made for all the world.
-Rev. Jeff Goetzinger
Prayer for Reflection
Holy Creator, help us all remember that we are part of your Kin-dom and part of the same family. May we continue to find joy, hope, peace, and love as share our faith with others and build your Kin-dom. In Jesus name we pray, Amen
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