About a week ago I wrote about community, I want to reflect on one of the classic passages on community, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Now I am not going to reflect on this passage specifically, but the place we find the passage, this being just before 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13.
After this huge passage about community we find ourselves faced with this beautiful message of love. Whilst this passage can be interpreted to be talking about ministry (which it is), it can and must because of its placement also be read in the context of community.
I don’t know about you, but I find the most challenging part of the text to be verses 4-7, talking of the things love is, and is not. I find myself recognising the things that are lacking, and the things I do. But also recognising the things I see in others and don’t see in others.
In community and especially a lived in day by day, night by night community you will naturally clash heads with other people, (especially when essays are being written). This passage is not the first on people’s hearts, our struggle against that natural temptation to enjoy the pain of being hurt, or cause hurt. Having the courage to apologise and forgive can be a scary and daunting prospect.
I realise from what I have written community looks terrible and something not to be entered into. But I think what I want to get across is that community is not easy, it is intentional, it is not natural. Since the fall our natural reactions have become skewed and marred. It is important to remember the centrality of love in the Kingdom of God; as verse 13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Community can be hard, but it also forms a key part of the holistic mission training that Redcliffe offers.