This week we’re launching a new worship and teaching series at Oak Hill. It’s based on Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth and called “The Church at Its Best.” Pastor Missy and I will preach from 1 Corinthians each week. We’ve also produced a companion study guide for classes and personal study (click here to download the study guide) to help you dig deeper and reflect upon this letter.
Those familiar with 1 Corinthians may find it ironic that we’re calling this series “The Church at Its Best.” 1 Corinthians was written to “A Church at Its Worst!” People in that church were quarreling with one another; some were getting drunk at communion; and one man appears to be sleeping with his stepmother.
Yet in this letter written to a church on the verge of collapse, the Apostle Paul casts a vision for what the Church looks like when it is living at its best, its very best. It’s a vision Christians have tried to live into for over 1,960 years!
In our scripture for this week (1 Corinthians 1:10-18), Paul points to what allows the church to live at its best: the cross.
The cross stands as the central symbol of the Christian faith. We have a beautiful cross at the front of the sanctuary at Oak Hill. You may have a cross adoring a wall at home or dangling on a chain around your neck.
Paul makes a claim about the cross that may leave you scratching your head: “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
As you prepare for worship this week, take time to reflect on the cross. Perhaps you have a favorite cross at home. Find a cross and hold it in your hands:
- Where did you get that cross? Who gave it to you? What does that particular cross mean to you?
- Why might Paul refer to the cross as “foolishness to those who are perishing”? (Hint: the Roman government used crosses to execute people.)
- What does the cross, a symbol of suffering and death, reveal about the power of God?
- If we took the message of the cross seriously, how might that shape how we live in this world?
Pastor Stephen Sanders 09-12-2021