From our Pastor
In the letters to the Corinthian church, Paul strives to help the church define who they are in light of the Savior they proclaim. There is no little amount of disagreement among the members of how that definition should be expressed in the community and even within the walls of the worshiping fellowship as well. This is understandable because in reality they were stepping off into a world view that was completely beyond anything they experienced before. Paul recognizes this as he later focuses on the manner in which God uses the foolishness of the witness they received to what was then considered to be a more reasonable and philosophical way of life. In this journey they were taking together there arose a great deal of conflict as to which had the better comprehension, or better source, for seeing the way of true discipleship.
Paul tries to cut through this dissention by bringing them back to the simplicity of the message they had received regardless of whose witness and teaching it came from—Peter, Apollos, or even Paul, himself. It wasn’t important who was doing what really but rather whom they were trying to serve, Peter, Apollos, Paul, or Christ! It is Christ we serve and even though we sometimes have a different view of how that should be done, we strive to keep that in mind even through our disagreements.
It has been somewhat amusing to me when people of the church will say that the church needs a pastor who is a good administrator; or one who can connect with the youth; or one who will call on the people; or one who is innovative in worship; or one who is ________. You can fill in the blank. My experience has been that God has empowered various people within a community to fill the needs of building up the church and guiding it through the issues and ministry ahead. When we place all our expectations and support on only the pastor, or the ad council chair, or the finance committee, or the trustees, or the youth leadership, we are failing to embrace the fullness of community in relationship as a church. We all have a place to guide and fulfill the calling of our church and therefore all have a stake in the lives of each of us. It doesn’t matter if we are eighteen or eighty-one, we all have a place in the discussion and debate. However, what we also need to keep in mind is that are responsibility for service to Christ, not ourselves, or the pastor, or the ad council chair, and so forth. No matter how much we may disagree from time to time, we are in this ministry together by the love and grace of no less than Jesus Christ.
When we shut down the in-person worship last March I don’t believe any of us thought that status would remain for the next ten months. Other churches have decided to return to in-person worship with some restrictions on how that was to be done. Others have been less or more stringent on those requirements. That doesn’t necessarily make them wrong and us right, or vice versa. It only means that each of us are trying to find the best way for our people to serve and worship during a time of unparalleled change. We can debate on which is better or worse but we need to keep in mind that through it all our focus in in trying to be responsible in our relationships with each other and with Christ. As with the Corinthian church, we are finding that that is not always so simple as we would like. In the midst of all the controversy Paul strives to get the church in Corinth back on track by going back to the basics of their faith. What is the absolute core of their belief in Christ and then go from there?
In the weeks ahead, I am planning on a sermon series that focuses a little on just what is it we believe and is it different from what we say we believe. Just what is the core of our being that draws us to God and what is that view of Christ that keeps us focused on our mission of justice, service and loving. I hope you can join us as we delve into our calling as disciples of Christ.
In Christ’s love,