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by David Jordan

The State of the Church

Psalm 71:1-6; I Corinthians 13:1-13

Read between the lines of our Bible and we discern bitter stories of hardship. The psalmist in chapter 71 addresses an audience in physical danger; and that danger understandably generates a spiritual turmoil: “Rescue me O God, from the hand of the wicked” (vs. 4).

In the New Testament, Paul’s soothing words in I Corinthians 13 paint a vast, intimate portrait of love’s breadth, depth and necessity; but the context he spoke to reeked of prejudice, hurt, anger and resentment. His was a broader reprimand of the highest order. But the poetic language about love extolls the powerful gift we have at our disposal. Love in the face of chaos. Love in the midst of turmoil. Love overturning exclusion. Love healing brokenness. Love critiquing injustice. And love, breeching the walls of division.

Both Psalm 71 and I Corinthians 13 remind us of our spiritual heritage, of people like you and me throughout church history. Like them: we struggle. We wander. We wonder about meaning and purpose and what the future holds. These passage remind us of God’s steadfast love for all time in spite of our confusion and the craziness that too often transpires in spite of our best effort.

Feel the heartbeat of history beating as we view our context against the larger backdrop of our long and rich spiritual heritage. We have much to be thankful for. We also have significant responsibilities. We hope together that our efforts align with God’s hopes; and God’s hopes, we pray, will continue to intersect with the dreams of those upon whose shoulders we now stand.


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