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Peace & Pieces - February 29, 2024

Paul the Apostle wrote multiple letters to guide, nurture, chastise, and express his profound love to the churches he founded or ministered to throughout the ancient Near East, Greece, and Rome. Two of these letters are written to the church in Corinth. Located in Greece, Corinth was a city at the crossroads of commerce with a cosmopolitan population. There were extremes of wealth and poverty, exploitation of the vulnerable, and a variety of flourishing religions brought there from every corner of the globe. Christianity was one such religion. 

The church in Corinth was neither numerous nor powerful. Christian belief in equality within the community and before God stood in stark contrast with the norms of life beyond the church. Letting go of worldly ways and values can feel like foolishness and certainly looks like foolishness to “those who are perishing,” as Paul writes. 

Still, this church gathered rich and poor, male and female, slave and free around one table to share bread, wine, and solidarity in Christ. The cross was their symbol of strength, wisdom, and abundant life – not wealth or education or popularity. Learning to trust in the cross for strength, holy wisdom, and abundant life is not a smooth, straightforward, or easy process. 

The world in which we find ourselves is not so different from Corinth. Extremes of wealth, poverty, and political beliefs abound. Despite a nearly infinite number of Christian expressions, as well as a plethora of other religions, large numbers of acquaintances consider our Christian way of life to be foolishness. If they even consider it at all. What foolishness to waste a Sunday morning in church when you could relax in bed. How foolish to share ten percent of your hard-earned wages with the needy! Are “friends in Christ” more faithful than your old gang from high school?

Our witness to the foolishness of the cross is as vital as it has ever been, and we no longer have back-up from the secular world. Businesses won’t close on Sundays, youth sports will practice seven days a week, and words like sacrament, grace, and reconciliation will grow increasingly unfamiliar. Yet, we are here to bear witness. We do not have to have the right words, but they can be kind words. We do not have to be wise, but we can be brave enough to reveal our foolish trust in the One who died for us, who continues to live with, through, and for us to bring us ever closer to God. 

Foolishly yours,

Pastor Lori+


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