Love is the Cure
Believe it or not, the Christians in Corinth bickered about who was the most important, who had the best spiritual gifts and who contributed most to the life of the church. I know, it’s hard to believe that Christians would behave that way. But, there you have it!
The reality is that even the healthiest churches have issues, squabbles and disagreements. I remember hearing an evangelist who worked with Billy Graham tell of talking with a woman at a crusade who asked for his help in finding the “perfect” church. He told her that he didn’t believe there was one, but on the chance that there might be, he would pray that she would not find it, because it would no longer be perfect!
Paul was writing to the church at Corinth about their bickering in this Sunday’s lesson from 1 Corinthians. What’s interesting about what Paul addresses here is not just that the Corinthians were having problems, but what Paul goes on to offer as the antidote. We will read this over the next three Sundays.
It all moves to 1 Corinthians 13, the great “Love” passage, so often read at weddings. Paul wrote this not about marriage, but about the life of the church. The passage about love we all find so moving and romantic is really about the love that should characterize our life in the church. Essentially, Paul tells the Corinthians that if love does not characterize whatever they do as a church, then it is a “noisy gong or a clanging symbol.” What whatever they do, no matter how wonderful, how spiritual or how important, it is nothing without love.
I pray that we will, more and more, see love characterizing all we say and do and that the presence of love would be so palpable in our common life that our failings would fade into insignificance.
This column appeared in the January 20, 2019 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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