Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 145 (Praise God’s faithfulness); Song of Solomon 4:1-8 (The bride’s beauty extolled); 1 Corinthians 1:3-17 (Appeal for unity)
The political primary season tends to be divisive. People get behind their candidate and say all kinds of good things about their candidates and why they should be elected. Often, they accompany that with all kinds of bad things about their opponents and why they shouldn’t be elected. Then, once the primary takes place and there’s only one candidate, everyone is supposed to unite around this person that a lot of people said bad stuff about.
The early church had issues like that. Hard to believe, isn’t it? In Corinth one of the many problems the church had was who the people followed as their spiritual leader. “My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas [Peter]’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’” (1 Corinthians 1:11-12) If your first thought was, “Well, at least that last group had it right,” then you fell victim to the game of spiritual one-upmanship that they were playing and we all play today. All of those factions were prideful in their pronouncements, or so it seems from Paul’s discussion of the issue. Today we have major splits among Christians called denominations. I understand that. I understand that people will read the Bible and reach different conclusions as to the meaning of the passage. I understand that those differences will lead to different practices. That being said, rather than proclaiming “I follow Christ” in an arrogant manner, can’t we follow Christ by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what the differences may be. It was said of the early Christians that they loved each other before they even knew each other. May that also be said of us.
Lord God, it’s so easy to get stuck in our understanding of Your word and think that we’re always right. Remind me that I am never right in my beliefs if those beliefs don’t lead me to love Your people in spite of our differences. Help me to love other Christians when they are wrong – and help them to love me when I am wrong.