Each day n Lent I will post on of the scripture readings from the Daily Office Lectionary. With a brief reflection. Today I am posting the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 2:14-3:15 Common English Bible (CEB)
But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way. Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone. Who has known the mind of the Lord, who will advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards?When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit? After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants who helped you to believe. Each one had a role given to them by the Lord: I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor. We are God’s coworkers, and you are God’s field, God’s building.
I laid a foundation like a wise master builder according to God’s grace that was given to me, but someone else is building on top of it. Each person needs to pay attention to the way they build on it. No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ. So, whether someone builds on top of the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, or hay, each one’s work will be clearly shown. The day will make it clear, because it will be revealed with fire—the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work survives, they’ll get a reward. But if anyone’s work goes up in flames, they’ll lose it. However, they themselves will be saved as if they had gone through a fire.
It would appear that for the people of Corinth, there was some dispute on the ‘proper’ expression of following in The Way of Jesus. Some were hyped up on Paul, others on Apollos, who knows what else what happening there. Whatever ever was happening it was significant enough that Paul felt the need to address it early in his letter to the people of this early Christian community. In his wisdom, he laid out clearly for folks that the work that the work being done in the name of Jesus has its very origins the life and witness of Jesus Christ. This need to differentiate who is who and who is built what part, and what materials were proper, and what gifts were best is — well, a waste of breath and a waste of time!
I’d like to think this would be a charming remembrance of some bygone era of our early forbears. But that would be to deceive myself. We are still doing this. If anything we have made perfected picking apart how we ‘do church.’ When we waste time debating whether it is proper to talk of ‘Sundays in Lent’ or ‘Sundays of Lent,’ when we waste time debating BCPs or BASs, when we throw away one minute arguing over the correct liturgical vestments, or shaming another congregation for ‘doing church’ in a way that does not fit ‘our’ view of what church should be – we have fall prey the same arrogance that befell the people in the early church!