Knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up. (1 Corinthians 8.1)
It’s been a while since I’ve preached. So, when I saw the options from the lectionary texts, I was scratching my head on deciding whether to preach on prophets, demons, or idols. I chose idols. Not because it was any easier than the three, but January is my church’s stewardship month. This particular Sunday was the day we were asking people to consider their commitment of resources, time, and energy to this particular faith community.
In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul speaks to a divided community over the matter of food sacrificed idols. And without taking sides he says, if we have a choice of being right or being loving, choose loving. I really am blessed and grateful to be in a community that chooses to be loving over being right. We don’t all agree theologically or politically, but we do believe in extending tremendous grace and flexibility to one another – so that if a baby is crying that is okay; if my daughter is playing under my robe while I preach that is okay; if the pews get moved for the 100th time that is okay.
I realize community is especially important when one’s Head of Staff is still recovering from surgery, the choir director breaks her wrist, the guest preacher backs out, the coffee grinder goes missing, and the Sunday School teacher shows up late. The only thing stopping “community” from helping me out is myself.
Thank you to all the parishioners who asked what they could do to help; Deb, the parish associate, for stepping in last minute to preach; Ryan, the intern, for holding down the fort. I also am grateful for my baby girl who was holding on to the ropes of my wrap around sweater while I was giving the benediction. As I said, “May Christ’s peace be with you as you go out into the world” and began to exit the sanctuary, I could barely walk forward because she was tugging on the ropes of my sweater. In her own small way, I was reminded to slow down and not hurry. Sometimes the world can wait. I picked up my daughter and we exited together.