Scripture: 2nd Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers and sisters, good-bye. Put things in order, respond to my encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace—and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Thought for the Day: These are some of Paul’s closing words in this second letter to the Church at Corinth. Some might think that final words are not where the meat of the letter are to be found, and though it is not lengthy in actual word count, it is substantive. He provides a check list of necessities if a community of faith is going to have any hope at resembling Jesus to the world. I am especially taken by the phrase, “Put things in order…” For a Type A personality, this is exciting news. A Type A is already thinking through the documentation and flowcharts for how the church will structure itself. This, of course, can be helpful to any community or institution, but I don’t believe that’s necessarily what Paul was thinking. Within the Jewish tradition, patterns and the order of things was very important. People participated in ceremonies and rituals that reinforced these patterns that helped to order life. But it wasn’t just about keeping the patterns and order, but asking what do these patterns and the ordering of daily life suggest about our values and what we hold true. Jesus was constantly struggling with those who emphasized the pattern above the humanity of a person. We can become so vigilant and obsessed with maintaining the pattern that we forget what the pattern was intended to teach us. Every week, we have communion in worship. It is a pattern that helps order life, but too often Christians have battled over how we take communion and who; is allowed to take communion without asking, “What is this pattern of weekly communion supposed to teach us?” Paul recognized the importance of having patterns that helped to order life, for they should help teach and shape a person in what Paul goes on to talk about – harmony, peace and love.
Prayer: Provide me helpful and healthy patterns to give shape to my life. I need them, O Lord, if I am going to be your disciple and represent you to the world. Amen.
Sunday’s Sermon: The Shape of the Vine
Based upon John 15:1-5