1 Corinthians 12:3-13
If a football team is going to win games the players must work together, and they must understand the value of their respective positions and roles on the field. The quarterback needs to have an offensive line who can protect him, the receivers need to have a quarterback who can throw accurately, and the quarterback needs receivers who can catch. If any of these players cannot be counted on to play their roles well, it will be difficult for the other teammates on the field to count on them. Winning will become difficult. Even worse, if the players start fighting and bickering amongst themselves, all of their necessary and diverse roles that must come together to play well will not be possible without a fundamental togetherness, a fundamental unity.
The Christians at Corinth are quite a diverse congregation, and there is little unity to speak of. Indeed, there appears to be in-fighting, a competitive spirit, and arrogant snobbery in the ranks. Their worship is selfish and inconsiderate (at The Lord's Supper; 11:17-22), and they have prioritized some spiritual gifts over others. If the Corinthians are indeed the Body of Christ, their life together and worship suggest otherwise.
Paul reminds the Corinthians that the diversity of gifts among them should contribute to their unity as each member plays her or his individual role. Such diversity is for the edification of the Body. Each expression of the Spirit is for the common good (v. 7).
And that same Spirit gives the diversity of gifts to each individual as the Spirit chooses.
The Spirit will do what the Spirit will do.
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Unity in Diversity: A Lectionary Reflection on 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
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