First of all, when you meet together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and I partly believe it. – 1 Corinthians 11:18
Paul sounds as if he’s surprised there were divisions within the Corinthian church. There are divisions within any church, ancient or modern. People have different backgrounds, ages, expectations, political views…you name it. You can’t have a church that is division-free.
The trick is what to do with those divisions. Are they opportunities to grow together and learn from each other? Or are they opportunities to further entrench the us-and-them mentality that is the custom of the world?
One Sunday, with fear and trepidation, I did a congregational activity. At the end of my sermon, and before communion, I had the people stand up, look around, and go to someone they didn’t know or know too well.
Please note how dangerous this is for pastoral longevity. You sit in your regular place, surrounded by people you know or are comfortable with. But get up and move, and meet someone else?
To my surprise, most of the people actually did what I asked.
Then, when they were settled in their new location, I asked them to briefly greet each other with:
“Hi”…followed by…”This is awkward, isn’t it?”…and ending with…”Remember that God loves you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
After that, I consecrated the elements and the people took communion with their new acquaintances.
The fact that you’re reading this means I survived. But so did the congregation. And some actually enjoyed the experience of getting out of their comfort zone, meeting someone, and sharing the bread and cup. A few even said they were going to make this a practice of theirs on communion Sunday.
But shouldn’t every day be communion Sunday for us?