Going Deeper 1-24-20

The second reading for Epiphany 3...
1 Corinthians 1:110-18 10 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. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 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." 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 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. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

​Much of Paul's first letter to the church in Corinth is aimed at seeking to promote unity.  There were divisions over several matters, including loyalty to different leaders, worship, gifts of the Spirit and more.  So it is obvious that right from the beginning, the Church has struggled to stay together.  And that obviously continues to be true.

I believe there are a couple of key factors at the heart of this proclivity to divide.  One is the idea that we somehow have knowledge that is superior to others-- which may sometimes be the case.  But there is no way that any one person or grouping of persons has everything correct in their understanding.  An awareness of this reality ought to create humility, respect, and a sense of openness to others.

A second factor, related to the first, is the idea that for God's people to have unity there must be uniformity.  When it comes to the core matters of doctrine, this is true.  But when we move beyond the clear foundational doctrines there is room--even necessity--for differences in practices and understanding.  As we can observe in the chaos happening in our political system, when different perspectives destroy relationships it demonstrates our inability to disagree and still maintain positive unity of any kind.

Here is a key point at which God's children ought to demonstrate a different understanding, and model for the world how it is possible to disagree, sometime strongly, and yet stay united as a family in Christ.  When we fail to do so, it is hard of others to see God's grace and love in and through us.  So, joining Paul, "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."

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."