Paul offers advice to the Christians at Corinth and hints of a troubled past relationship between him and the church. Though he urges the community to love the member of the Corinthian church who spoke against him, Paul also defends and justi es himself as an apostle and bearer of truth. He asks the hearers to open their hearts to him and their pocketbooks in support of the church of Jerusalem. He ends the letter by encour- aging the church to heed his words and live in peace with one another before closing with a benediction for the church.
How well most of us know that living and worshiping in a Christian community is dif cult and often contentious, a petri dish in which con icts grow wildly from the smallest particles of misunderstandings. In the Corinthian community, we can imag- ine that hearing Paul’s letter might have been met with some eye rolls. Put things in order? Agree with one another? Live in peace? These directives are easier said than done, Brother Paul. Without the grace of the trinitarian God whom Paul names in his benediction, there can be no concord or unity of effort in the church. Even periods of harmony among leaders or consensus following a particularly hard church decision are often followed by an unraveling of peace within the body of Christ.
Our Creator God, author of the order of creation, creates us and our communities for love. Jesus redeems us for love and provides an example of love that seeks unity and peace. The Spirit moves among us and sustains our community when we lean into possibilities for love and work to dismantle dividing walls. Even when agreement is impossible, the Spirit enables members of the community to love through con ict and to will the good of sisters and brothers though disagreement persists.
Imagine God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer moving through your community of faith to bring unity and peace.
Trinity Sunday is an appropriate time for the church to reflect on the dynamic tension between what we know of God and our attempts to formulate and articulate what we know. The Genesis text demonstrates that the God of Israel, the creator of heaven and earth, is unlike other gods and must be served and worshiped exclusively. The psalm asserts the same power of God but is more explicit about the implications for human life of God’s governance. The Gospel reading re ects on the gift of God’s presence in the church, a presence marked by moral expectation and demand, as well as assurance. The epistle reading voices the strange convergence of God’s authority and God’s remarkable grace known through the presence of Christ.
• Read Genesis 1:1–2:4a. God takes a break. When do you allow yourself to step away from the busyness of the world for some much-needed sabbath time?
• Read Psalm 8. This song of praise exalts the order and majesty of creation. We, like the psalmist, ask, “God, why do you care for humankind?” How do you respond?
• Read 2 Corinthians 13:11-13. What ways can you envision yourself acting to calm disagreements and tension within your church community?
• Read Matthew 28:16-20. Jesus gives his disciples clear instructions: Go, make disciples, baptize, teach. How is your discipleship evident in your “going”?
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