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United in Christ

United in Christ

Something to read

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

- 1 Corinthians 1:10-12.

Something to think about

The Corinthian church had forcibly split their leaders into something like team captains, with each member deciding who they were going to line up behind. We read on 20 January that Paul and Cephas (Peter), despite their differences, were in good fellowship with one another and there is no reason to think that they weren’t similarly united with Apollos. But others pitted them against one another and chose their favourite, based perhaps on preaching style or personality, or by the personal connection of conversion or baptism.

We might think that those who claimed ‘I belong to Christ’ were on the right track. But it seems this way of using his name was more a claim to superiority over the other cliques than a rejection of factionalism itself. True allegiance to Christ is never a way of putting ourselves above others.  

Disunity has been the plague of the church not just in Corinth, but in all times and in all places ever since. In today’s world, we manage to quarrel and fight online as well as in physical spaces. The challenge of unity is as important as it ever was; so if we can find innovative ways to bicker, perhaps we can also find new ways to love.

Something to do

Having prayed for the churches in your area a couple of days ago (20 January), why not reach out to local church you don’t yet know? Talk to your church leader about making a new connection as a church; it could lead to a fruitful friendship.

Something to pray

God of all people, forgive the ways in which your church is divided and at odds with one another. Help me to see through your eyes, and inspire me to sow seeds of friendship and unity among your people. Amen. 

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones