Last week we began a new worship series based on
1 Corinthians. We’re reading from Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, listening for what he says the church (THE Church Universal and THIS church called Oak Hill) looks like when it is living at its best.
Note: Pastor Missy and I wrote a companion study guide. Click here to download the study guide.
In the passage for this week (1 Corinthians 3:1-10), Paul writes to a congregation filled with “jealousy and quarreling”
(1 Corinthians 3:3). The issue: the preacher. “One says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’”
(1 Corinthians 3:4). (Background note: Apollos was probably the pastor/evangelist who led the church in Corinth after Paul.)
In response to conflict over preference for a particular preacher, Paul introduces two metaphors for the Church. The first metaphor is a field. Paul planted the church; Apollos watered and nurtured it. Yet it was God who gave the growth. The Church is a field that God causes to grow and produce good fruit.
The second metaphor is the one that intrigues me. Paul compares the Church to a building. Paul laid the foundation; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Apollos built upon that foundation. What the Church has become is a temple – a dwelling place for God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
Think about that metaphor. When Paul talks about the church here, he is not talking about a physical building. He’s talking about the people – you and me. He claims that the Church (THE Church Universal and THIS church called Oak Hill) is more than a collection of individuals. It is a community where the Spirit of God dwells.
Yes, God is present everywhere. Yet in some unique way, the Spirit of God dwells among us as a community of people gathered in the name of Christ.
In your personal devotion or prayer time this week, think about that second metaphor: the church as a community where the Spirit of God dwells.
- When was a time when you experienced the presence of God through the community called the “church”?
- What made that experience meaningful for you?
- What does your personal experience say about how God calls us to live as a community called Oak Hill United Methodist Church?