Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 13, 2011

Currents in Theology and Mission, December 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 13, 2011

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Psalm 119:1-8

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Matthew 5:21-37

Paul or Apollos? Pastor Jim or Pastor Alice? Worship at 8:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.? Intinction or drink from the cup? Protestant or Roman Catholic? The church with the youth center or the church with the projection screens? We in the church have a way of bickering, dividing ourselves, and aligning ourselves with many different causes other than the gospel. Some of these divisions and disputes fizzle out, some resolve themselves, but other issues of adiaphora seem to take over congregations and denominations, becoming the focus of the church more so than living and proclaiming the gospel. Paul's words to the church at Corinth are therefore just as relevant to us today as they were for their original audience.

Paul writes, "Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth" (1 Cor 3:7). Rephrased for a modern context this might be written, "Neither the pastor who provides the mission trip to Costa Rica, nor the pastor who organizes the Youth Outreach Whitewater Canoeing Trip is anything, but only God in whose name all things are done."

What effect might it have on congregations to hear that Christ is where we find our commonality with the church universal in life and mission? What would it mean for preachers to first preach happiness in those who seek the Lord and not advocacy work nor social agenda, nor special trips nor congregational legacy. This might offend certain Lutheran sensibilities, those who would argue that our happiness is not solely based on our ability to seek the Lord but instead that the Lord brings happiness to all, meeting them where they are. Though I will not argue this point, it is important not to overlook that the psalmist wtites," Happy are those who keep [the Lord's] decrees, who seek him with their whole heart" (v.2). Again, we see the idea of those who seek the Lord being rewarded echoed in Deuteronomy: "Choose the Lord and his way, and you shall choose life. ... You will be given the land that was sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

In Paul's letters one can trace a back-and-forth between his ministry efforts, those of Peter, and even those of Apollos in the case of 1 Corinthians. However, a reader would be hard pressed to find an occurrence within either the Pauline epistles or Acts when Paul (or Peter, or Apollos) throw their hands in the air and say, "Forget it, just forget it. I'm done dealing with you. I'm going to take my people and start the First Church of Paul over here.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 13, 2011


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?