Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is Christ Divided?

Albrecht Dürer [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

By Melanie Rigney

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. (Isaiah 9:1)

The Lord is my light and my salvation.  (Psalm 27:1a)

For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. (1 Corinthians 1:11-13, 17)

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed them. (Matthew 4:18-22)

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You at all times.

It’s easy to get caught up in joy and jubilation—or darkness and despair.

It’s easy to get comfortable and think politicians will lead us into the land of milk and honey—or think they will take us to Armageddon.

It’s easy to believe we can rest now because order has been restored to our country—or believe that a dangerous time is descending upon us.

The hard part, regardless of where your thoughts fall, is keeping focused on Christ. That is not to say that we should not be advocating our neighbors and for religious freedom. Many have died for the Lord and doubtless, many more will in the time humanity has left on the earth. Christians are not passive. We are activists, rabble rousers, those who comfort the afflicted and at times afflict the comfortable. But above all else, we are united in faith. We may be registered with a political party (or not) or we may have taken a million social media quizzes so we know that this is the ‘70s song that summarizes our life or this literary classic is our theme or this color defines us. But above all, we are His. Some of those we find most difficult to love, whether or not we have ever met them, also are His.

In today’s first reading, Paul notes that the community to which he is writing has begun to divide itself by boasting of whom conducted their baptisms. “Is Christ divided?” he asks. That is no mere rhetorical question. For if our answer is the obvious—no, of course, He isn’t—then it becomes part of our spiritual journey to treat all those we encounter as brothers and sisters, rather than as others.

Where are you allowing divisiveness to color a relationship with someone you know? Pray for ways to let the injury heal, even if the other person would prefer to keep the wound open.

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