1 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.
Reflection …for it has been reported to me… that there are quarrels among you; fathers and daughters, friends, neighbors, life partners, business partners. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Trump,” or “I belong to anti-Trump,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? … In whose name were you baptized? To what family do you truly belong? “
Yes, I have taken a few liberties with Paul’s words to the Corinthians. But today we are confronted with a similar situation to that which Paul faced in the early church. We, the People of God, are forgetting who and whose we are. We are girding up our loins and gerrymandering our lines, we are defining who is in and who is out and all the while we are afraid.
We are afraid because we have forgotten who and whose we are. We are afraid because we have forgotten we are sisters and brothers in one family, the family of God.
Today we are faced with divided families, divided friendships, divided communities, a divided nation and divided hearts. In every region of our lives and our world Paul’s words ring true, “There are quarrels among us.” Still, we are good people. We are people of God. Yes we do have different ways of expressing our goodness. Yes we do imagine different ways of extending goodness to all people. But as Paul unequivocally proclaims, we should all be in agreement. There should be no divisions among us because we are “united in the same mind and the same purpose.”
What is this mind in which we are united? It is the Mind of Christ, the mind of inclusivity, compassion and nonviolence. What is the purpose that we share? It is continuing Jesus’ message that began in Galilee, proclaiming the good news to all people on earth. Now we arrive at the difficult part. Like Jesus we must put flesh on the bones of our words (instead of fighting over concepts or ideologies). We cannot only say with our mouths, “We are all sisters and brothers in Christ. We are one in the family of God.” As Jesus did, so must we make our proclamation real by our actions. It is up to each of us to directly touch the lives of the least the lost and the lonely as Jesus touched and healed the leper. It is up to each of us to discover the humanity of our enemy as did Jesus with the Roman soldier pleading with Jesus to cure his slave. It is up to each of us to apply the wisdom of all the law and the prophets and do to others as we would have them do to us.
It is time for us to stop quarreling about concepts and ideologies and do to others as we would have them do to us.
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