13 Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Everything should be done in love.
In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul, acting as the church’s first bishop, sent letters of instruction to believers in the church of Corinth. This particular church was a diverse combination of both Jewish and Gentile converts, with differing voices of social class and including leadership of both sexes. The very nature of the group was eclectic, which was also likely a part of internal strife. It was the same church that sparked Paul’s writings on the nature of the Church as the metaphoric Body of Christ (See 1 Cor. 12). In spite of differences in culture, gender and belief, the lively church at Corinth enjoyed success –perhaps speaking to the power of the Holy Spirit when we combine all of our efforts to stay uniquely connected.
Since no one leader can be in every place at once, Paul wrote to encourage the church at Corinth to be steadfast and to stand firm in faith and life of the church. Through it all, Paul said, in all things, proceed with love. So too in our church, we give our fear careful thought and prayer, while also acting intentionally for the needs of those within our community.
I am further reminded of Pastor Joe’s message this past Sunday, 5/24, on acting “in faith” as a pathway between our fear and foolishness. (If you did not hear that sermon, I encourage you to check it out at: youtube.com/watch?v=fZ2Y0ASPwfU)
In particular, for Covid-19 and our church activities, although we do not just let our fears dictate our decision making, neither will we charge ahead without being on guard. Let us stand firm in our faith but also let us courageously listen through the Holy Spirit. Let us be steadfast through all things by love. These difficult days will pass because of all our efforts to stay uniquely connected, despite differences, like the church from Corinth long ago.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
As we take careful steps towards a new normal since this pandemic began, I think our truest love will be most evident by really listening and acting for one another. But I also think that sometimes crises set us more into our own internal thinking and our beliefs, which can further polarize our thoughts. In our current world crisis, how might your thinking have become: polarized, amended, or upended?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, we see so much want and need all around. As we take careful steps to learn a new normal through social distancing, may we proceed with steadfast faith and love. Help us to know the pathways that return us to you. Guide us through your wisdom, that we will know when to listen, when to speak, and when and how to take action in the world. Amen.