Here, we find a church in conflict, splitting into factions. Imagine that! But Paul reminds the Christians in the Corinthian church that they must remember who it is that brings them together, who they have in common: Jesus Christ. It seems the main split in this church centers on authority. Some are devoted to one apostle or another, and others to Jesus, as if Jesus is no higher than any other leader in the church.
The issue of authority often underlies the divisions within our own churches. Think about those times when a beloved, long-serving pastor leaves. Almost without fail, there is difficulty between those who insist on loyalty to the previous leader and those who are ready to embrace something new. In this reading, Paul reminds us that no matter who is standing up front, our common purpose is being transformed by and sharing the gospel message.
What issues have plagued the local church in the past? What issues do you see today? To what degree does the question of authority play into these issues? How would deferring to the teaching and example of Jesus contribute to a meaningful resolution? In what ways can you be a unifier or a peacemaker?
Pray for unity in our local and global church, in our nation and our world.