Passion and conflict
I have a confession; I get nervous when we have a vote at church. Yes I know decisions need to be made and as much as I wish every vote could be a consensus vote, I know some times we need to decide and move on. The problem is every vote that is not unanimous means someone is on the losing end. And this can lead to the place where the Corinthians(1 Corinthians 1:10-18, see below) who we discover in this week’s lectionary passage, find themselves arguing over whose baptism is the best or whose version of church is best. I imagine if we knew the back story that baptism was just the surface issue and the real problem was that one group of folks felt not heard and left out by another groups of folks. And although I am realistic enough to know that there will be times in our journey when this happens, my dream for the church is that it will be a place where diverse voices always find expression as we answer God’s call together and no one will feel left out. I dream of a church that will hold folks who look differently, who express their theology and spirituality differently, and even those who vote differently both inside and outside the church but who are drawn together because we feel God’s call to be an inclusive group of believers who do justice, love with kindness and walk humbly with God together. And here is the other confession; I am here at HUCC because I believe that dream is what this community believes God is calling to us to be. A calling that began with a group of folks who gathered together 25 years ago and a calling that continues to guide us today, a calling that lives no matter what the color or content of our roof, because we believe that no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you can be welcomed here. This Sunday we will continue to live out that calling as we welcome a new family to our community, as always I am amazed by the awesome folks God sends to our community, and I get energized by the ways I know they will stretch us, challenge us and revive us and most importantly because they will be another beautiful thread in the tapestry that God was and is creating at Hillsborough United Church of Christ as we draw the circle of God’s love and inclusion wider and wider still. So as we move forward together I reminded how thankful I am for each person here and each new person God sends through our doors and for the wonderful responsibility, challenge and joy of the calling to serve HUCC.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18 NRSV
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you 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?
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 1For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.