Feb 5, 2011

Super Soul Series

As part of Arlington, Texas’ First United Methodist Church’s worship series for Epiphany 2011, we are taking a look at some of the texts that Paul has written as part of his collection of letters to the church at Corinth. Elements of faith and discipleship that Paul mentions in these letters comprise a part of what makes a “Super Soul.” Paul writes about these elements he hopes are in the soul (or whatever) of the Corinthians. These elements are: gratitude, unity, humility, receptivity, maturity, responsibility, and dependability. By these seven ingredients Paul guides the church at Corinth to become as individuals better disciples and as an assembly—a true faith community.

In studying the Bible, sometimes it is difficult to ferret out the context of some of scripture’s most important passages. In most of Paul’s letters, for instance, we can only assume the questions that the churches ask from the reply that Paul gives. Here in Corinth we have the group called “Chloe’s people” who have “ratted out” the rest of the Corinthian congregation for “conduct unbecoming” or “Christians behaving badly.” Thus Paul writes to fix the wrongs in the church.

Many people love this letter because it gets down to cases. Not too much high flying theology—No!!! Here rather Paul castigates those who deserve it—always someone who is not us. Yet in all humility are we always in the right? As we find in Job: “Do you think this to be just? You say, ‘I am in the right before God’ ” (Job 35:2).

I continue to appreciate the many persons in our congregation who struggle to find meaning in life, in worship, in study, and in the fellowship of the church. For as the author of Ephesians reminds us: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

It is a struggle, but only in struggle do we find best and most faithful selves.

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