2014 Lent 5

I Corinthians 1:1-19

The lectionary today offers passages about beginnings.  There’s this one, to which I will turn my focus in a moment, the beginning of a letter written to the first church at Corinth by St. Paul.  There’s also the first thirteen verses of the Gospel of Mark; and the beginning of the story of Joseph in Genesis (37:1 ff.).  This theme of beginnings strikes me as serendipitous: I am writing from a Panera in Conway, Arkansas, where I have just enjoyed breakfast with my high school senior.  We’re here for the next eight hours to visit Hendrix College, one of several colleges to which she’s been accepted and which are waiting on her now to decide.  A child about to graduate high school and transition from adolescence to adulthood?  New beginnings!

As for Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth, I peeked ahead in the Prayer Book lectionary and saw that the entire book of I Corinthians has been laid out over the next few weeks.  This excites me, for I’m a systematic thinker; and this should allow me fodder from which to write in a systematic way over the next several weeks as I read, mark, learn, inwardly digest, and otherwise think my way through the letter.  Also, a key theme in this letter comes out in today’s selection; namely, division.

Yeah!  There was a great deal of division in the Corinthian church, despite the fact that it had been recently begun by someone so holy as St. Paul!  Factions abounded (suggested today); social injustices occurred regularly; immorality was somewhat commonplace.

So why does this division excite me?  It’s actually unity that excites me.  I’m all about factions, injustices, and immoralities ceasing and instead people binding together for the common cause of Christ.  Reading through this letter and thinking through these issues and penning some thoughts should help me understand Christian unity better.  Perhaps it will help you too.


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