S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 3:18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
20 and again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
O (Observation): Paul recognizes that worldly wisdom has no part in knowing the Lord. Those who claim to know God through wisdom are sorely misguided.
Instead of human leaders, Paul urges the followers in Corinth to work together, because collectively – through faith – they belong to each other. And if they belong to each other, they belong to Christ, and thus, to God.
Paul urges a great coming together for mutual upbuiding in the faith. All on the same level plain.
A (Application): Denominations. Pastors. Church Leaders. We can all make a pretty big mess of things. We all have our ways, our nuances, our theologies. After a few years of tradition, one gets stuck in that transition, that ideology. And being a part of a denomination that goes back roughly 500 years…it’s so easy to slip into our “ways.”
My hope is that we can do more to follow Paul’s advice: don’t boast about human leaders…belong to one another…for we all belong to God.
I love our traditions of worship and upholding the sanctity of the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism. I won’t let those things go. But I will amend my approach to how these are handled. I will listen for how the Spirit is calling me/us to come together around these means of grace. We can ask questions about who can access these means of grace. We can ask who can preside over these means of grace. We can welcome the challenges that face us as a denomination, and make ourselves vulnerable to all of these questions, as they arise from other Christ-followers and God-fearers.
We Christians are part of one great big family of believers. Let us act like it. Let us be humble enough to become vulnerable and open our hearts and minds to conversation.
P (Prayer): Lord, help me in my lack of humility. Amen.