We live in a fractured world—divided by race, class, sexuality, age, gender and national borders—and polarized by politics. Jesus came into a deeply divided culture bringing a message love and reconciliation. His early followers represented very diverse backgrounds and sought to become a community that transcended their differences. But like us, they struggled!
First Corinthians is the first of two letters recorded in the Christian Scriptures from the Apostle Paul to the fledgling church he started in the prosperous Greek city of Corinth. This new community of followers of Jesus was a diverse, gifted and dynamic group who were courageously and creatively exploring what new life in the way of Jesus looked like in their pagan culture. This resulted in some beautiful, life-giving expressions of faith but also created numerous problems and disagreements that resulted in deep divisions within the community. In First Corinthians, Paul addresses many of these divisions and calls the church back to its single greatest foundational truth: Love as embodied in Christ. This love is expressed as humility, consideration of others, and deference to the needs of those around us. Paul makes the case that no matter how gifted, enlightened or empowered we may think we are, real wisdom is found in this way of love. He dares to dream that unity is possible, and envisions a community that transcends disagreement.
During this 5-week series, beginning on July 1, we will work our way through the letter, and explore the cultural context of the text to gain a deeper understanding of this way of love. We’ll also wrestle with how these ancient teachings apply today, and take up the challenge of Paul for our own lives personally, our lives together as a diverse community, and how we might share this in our world.