Reading: I Corinthians 1:10-18
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. 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.
We don’t like to think about it, but there was a lot of conflict in the New Testament church. Paul addresses the church at Corinth, which is apparently consumed by quarreling factions: Chloe’s people, people committed to Paul’s teaching, Apollos’ teaching, and Cepha’s teachings. Sad, very sad.
Unfortunately, things have not improved. The Church of Jesus Christ is broken and just seems to continue to be fragmented. If folks don’t like what is going on in a congregation, they just pull up roots and start another church. It goes on and on. The conflicts among members of individual congregations generally turn out to be painful, destructive and divisive.
In today’s reading, God is calling us to a high, high standard—“that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” In this instance, Paul focuses us on the cross—the power of God. Let’s keep our focus and work together to proclaim the gospel.
God of reconciliation, anoint humanity with your grace and mercy that we may honor our differences and find unity in you.