Yesterday was one of those Sundays where the cycle of readings we call the “lectionary” has an embarrassment of riches: any one of the four suggested passages is a gold mine of sermon material. The downside, something is going to get left out. As an example, Don read the passage from Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, it’s perhaps the most famous of all Paul’s writings, and is a staple at weddings. I’ve even been at wedding shows where these words are packaged and displayed as “An Anonymous Love Poem.” Usually when I see that, my normally calm demeanour is replaced with grumbling and muttering under my breath, threatening to break out into an indignant rant. It’s not anonymous at all. We know WHO wrote it, we know approximately WHEN it was written, and we even know WHY it was written! Paul wrote it, presumably when he was in Ephesus, to a small congregation in the cosmopolitan Greek city of Corinth sometime in the middle of the 1st Century. Not only that, we know for certain that it was not written about weddings or marriage at all!
The Corinthian church was notoriously fractured as a community. They were constantly obsessed with who was in and who was out, who put on the better show, and who was superior in work, deeds, or special gifts. It seemed that many had the attitude of “my way or the highway.” These attitudes threatened to rip this fledgling church community apart, and much of Paul’s two letters were trying to knock some sense into them. So when he wrote this now famous passage, at minimum Paul was annoyed, if not downright angry. This wasn’t a sentimental love poem, but rather a rant on what a loving community looks like. Try reading the above quote with an angry voice, and you might get a sense of what Paul was after.
So instead of reducing this to some sort of sentimental love poem, it’s about building community and relationships, rather than focusing on what divides. A good start for Monday morning!
During this season of Epiphany and beyond, I will continue to send out these weekly reflections. You may also check out our website at http://www.st-matthews-uc.org for recent sermons, updates, and reflections.
Yours in Christ,
- The Taming of the Shrew, Mondays at 10am in the Conference Room.
- Friday, February 5th: “Happy Hearts Hop” – Valentine’s Day Party – 6:30pm in Fitzgerald Hall.
- Join us for an evening of crafts and snacks. Come out and celebrate the love of family at this family fun night.
- Sunday, March 6th: Annual General Meeting
- While the Board has not officially set a date yet, preparations are underway for our next annual congregational meeting. Wendy is now receiving written submissions for the 2015 Annual Report, which we would like in the office by February 10th.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls Seminar
- In cooperation with the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners (CALL), I will be offering a short course/seminar on the Dead Sea Scrolls. While the exact start date still needs to be confirmed, this course will run for approximately five weeks between May and early June.
- Congregational Membership Classes
- If you or someone you know would like to formalize membership with St. Matthew’s, I am hoping to run a membership class in the next few months. If you are interested, please email me, call me at the church, or speak with me directly on Sunday mornings.
Wendy’s regular office hours are Mondays, 11am-3pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday from 9am-3pm.
John’s regular weekday office hours are Monday through Thursday.