- About Us
- Camps & Events
- General Synod
- Outdoor Ministries
- Annual Gathering
- NCNC Calendar
AT THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL week 2
Epiphany 2010—Week 2
"Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Let Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit."
I Corinthians 12: 3
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The church in Corinth was a church in trouble. When you read through the whole of Paul’s first letter to this young church you read a chronicle of issues, contentions, arguments, and factions that is enough to give any administrator a headache, any pastor heartburn, any theologian ulcers, and most church members an overwhelming sense of relief they’re anywhere but First Church, Corinth.
Wading into those heavy swells of controversy Paul addresses each issue. Point by point he treads his way along, splashing the church members’ own questions back at them, repeating rumors he has heard about them, offering enough affirmation that they will continue to stay afloat. By the time we catch up with him in chapter 12, Paul is summing up in 33 uncomplicated words the system for separating Christians from non-Christians: Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Let Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. Having established that he quickly moves on into, "Now there are varieties of gifts….."
The pace is so rapid, we are so speedily drawn into that listing of gifts that we almost miss the enormity of what Paul has slipped between the lines. No test of doctrine, belief, or practice here. If someone says that Jesus—not Caesar, not material goods, but righteous, compassionate, voice of the voiceless Jesus—is sovereign in my life, that’s good enough. The commitment is there. We’ll work out the particulars along the way. Paul is not making a plea for unity in the face of an unsettling diversity. No, the unity is assumed, and it’s not homogeneity.
Paul is, I think, saying to the church, "Don’t waste your time honking out a monotonous line. Develop your gifts. Some of you are sopranos, some altos, some basses, some tenors, some play the piano, others keep time real well, some can turn the lights on and off. On your own you might not be much, but together, well, hallelujah, chorus!"
This is the spirit that moves us in our Epiphany search for the heart of the Gospel. In Shimon Peres’ words, "There’s the light. Where’s the tunnel?"
Taking to heart and to soul Paul’s affirmation of diversity and espousal of the mutual need, mutual enrichment, and mutual benefit of life in community, let us construct tunnels to take us there. Let’s excavate. Dig in. Dig deep. Root out. Keep focused. Endure some claustrophobic moments. Slog on where no one has ever gone before. Depend on our companions in this undertaking.
"Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many." I Corinthians 12: 14
By Your light we see light, O Holy One,
» posted on January 14, 2010
» filed under