Next Sunday’s Epistle Reading

**Oops, I read the wrong year. Oh well…**
Reading though next Sunday’s Epistle lesson (3rd Sunday of Epiphany, year A) from Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth, beginning at chapter 1, verses 10-17, I am made aware of the absolute relevancy of this reading, particularly when Paul writes:
“What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided?”
Today in this Church, how often do we hear, “I belong to Peter Akinola,” or “I belong Henry Luke Orombi,” or “I belong to Martin Minns,” or “I belong to Frank Lyons,” or “I belong to Bob Duncan,” or, or, or and it goes on an on.
Now, all these Episcopalians (or former Episcopalians) will say first off that, “I belong to Christ, and this is why I have aligned myself and my parish with” Akinola, Lyons, Minns, or whomever. They will accuse anyone who remains faithful to The Episcopal Church of belonging to something other than Christ. Why? Because those who remain faithful to The Episcopal Church do not agree with them on certain social matters or Scriptural interpretations, or theological positions.
Most all those who remain faithful to The Episcopal Church will claim that they, too, “belong to Christ.”
Now, I know “liberals” who do the same thing that the “conservatives” do. Neither side is innocent of all this dividing of Christ’s Body!
Why do we have the need to lay claim to something so strongly, something that is not Christ, that we are willing to see the destruction of institutions, the division and ending of all relationships, and engage in the defamation of character of all those with whom we disagree?
When Paul calls us to be of the same mind and purpose, I suspect that he means that we all are of one mind and purpose in wanting God’s will to be done upon earth as it is in heaven, not that we are all dogmatically, doctrinally, or theologically the same.
I belong to Christ. I am to love my neighbor as I love myself! It matters little to me with regard to how I relate to you, frankly, whether you agree with me or not.

Worth repeating

I need to read this quote often.
“Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience …. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason … You start being ‘kind’ to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which they in fact had a right to refuse, and finally kindnesses which no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties.”
– C.S. Lewis