Paul was writing to a church in conflict. He was writing to admonish and encourage a church that he loved… a church that was hurting his heart over the divisions that were apparent among them. Division in the church is not a new thing. It has existed from the very beginning. But how do we deal with division? That, my friends, is the question.
As a society, we have become very polarized as we have forgotten how to “disagree without being disagreeable.” Just like we have forgotten how to listen to understand in favor of listening to react. Paul even takes us to task for saying “I belong to Christ” because we say it with a smugness that implies that “I’m right, you’re wrong, and that’s that,” thus cutting off the discussion and preventing further dialog so that we may understand one another. Paul is telling them (and us) to cut it out.
Having the same mind does NOT mean that we agree on everything. It DOES mean that we seek commonality in our calling from Christ. It means that we don’t demonize those who disagree with us but we remain in dialog with one another; seeking to follow Christ in a manner that restores relationship.
Our scriptures on this Third Sunday after the Epiphany are Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27; Matthew 4:12-23, and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Join us as Pastor Wayne “goes from preaching to meddling,” as someone jokingly said at the end of today’s service.