The church to which Paul writes at Corinth is a small church. Yet somehow, if the writer is to be believed, this community has found ways to divide over leadership styles, worship practices, sexual ethics, social and economic class, spiritual gifts and education level. Does this resonate with anyone? It might sound like Paul is simply uncomfortable with conflict when he encourages them to get along. Far from it. He boldly proclaims that the cross of Christ was God’s way of upending their ways of defining and valuing themselves and one another.
I once visited a friend who had two dogs. They loved to chase a thrown stick. They were smart. Individually they could easily find any thrown stick in heavy bush. However, when they both went after it, it was a different matter. They were so busy ensuring that the other didn’t get the stick, they mostly couldn’t find it.
For individuals that struggle, families that struggle, church communities that struggle, this message of Paul to trust in the power of the cross to heal division is timely.
God of healing, heal us of those things that divide us. Amen. — RB