Reading: 2 Corinthians 13
Reflection: Many Christians are familiar with the 13th chapter of FIRST Corinthians. It’s all about love. What a contrast these last words in SECOND Corinthians provide.
Paul is not happy. And he isn’t describing a loving community. Things seem to be amuck in Corinth. “Straighten up,” he says, “Or I’ll lambast you with every ounce of authority that the Lord has given me.”
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves.” Folks, things are not always good in the church. We get into struggles, we disagree and argue. And all of that is o.k. as long as we see that as an opportunity for honest, faithful, holy conversation and growth. Here is the problem, too often differences in the church become win/lose conflicts. Folks decide that there is only one solution to the problem, and of course, that is MY solution.
Paul asks us to take responsibility for our own thoughts, opinions, and feelings. He also asks us to listen carefully to others’ thoughts and opinions and be respectful of their feelings. Together our holy conversations can work “for building up and not for tearing down.”
Listen to Paul’s passionate words to a struggling church:
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
--Jim Bricker, Chaplain to the Camp Mount Luther Summer Staff.
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