As Paul closes his second letter to the church of Corinth, he promotes unity and peace within the body of Christ. “Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace,” he writes in verse 11. Some might read this as a call for uniformity of thought. I do not believe that’s true. If we didn’t offer one another different perspectives, the church and its people would remain stagnant and stunted. Instead, it seems Paul is encouraging the church to look for the foundational values upon which they can agree: acting in ways that are peaceful, especially in times when there is difference of thought; offering grace to one another, as grace has been offered to them through Jesus Christ; and to greet each other warmly, extending welcome and hospitality to all.
Has this been your experience of church? How do you think our church is viewed by those in the community? How could we better reflect the values for which Paul is advocating in this letter?
In prayer, ask God to bless and inspire the church – both locally and more broadly.