In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul is chiding these new church-goers for basically not getting along. He has heard that there are divisions in the new church. He points out that divisions are natural to some extent. In fact, they are necessary to weed out the disengenuious members. But, for the most part, church members should come together "for better and for worse".
This passage made me think about St. Matthews and where it is in its walk with God. In fact, I have been thinking a lot about St. Matthews recently as I have looked at pictures of St. Patrick's Church in Mississippi. I have wondered what would we do if our church had been completely destroyed?
The first thing I think of about St. Matthews is where it is today. I have been coming here for a little over nine years. My kids were 6 and 9 and I was looking for a family-friendly church. I felt that St. Matthews was just that. People were very open and friendly. Then, as many of you know, St. Matthews went through a very tumultuous period. Many of our parishioners left and I considered leaving as well, but something told me to stay. Then, four years ago, Father Rob took over as Rector (then Vicar) and we started to rebuild. Now we have the blessed problem of running out of space.
Churches are people - run by people and filled by people. There is no perfect human and there will never be a perfect church. But, I am amazed by how blessed St. Matthews has been. Even just recently in hiring Melissa from St. Patricks was nothing short of the work of the Lord.
The members of St. Matthews should celebrate its accomplishments (as we did last Sunday), while being humbled by the enormous task as hand - to bring 21st century folks to the Lord's table. I can't think of a place I'd rather be or a people with whom I would rather serve than the folks of St. Matthews.