CHURCH. What is it? How do you define it? What are the parts of Church that are the most important to you? What brings you to Church (in person or online)? What keeps you away? Is Church just a habit that you grew up with? Do you think about what you experienced in Church throughout the week? What elements of Church are absolutely essential for you? What is the “heart” of Church for you? Have you ever thought about any of these things?
In this time of transition, it’s a great time to discover for ourselves what all this means to us.
Take a few minutes to write down your first off-the-top-of-your-head answers to these questions. Quick thoughts; phrases, words. It’s not a test, so no one else needs to read it. Answer for yourself, that is, not what you think you’re supposed to think, or what your friends or family might think, what your grandmother would want you to think, only what you think. After you finish, set it aside for now.
Here’s a challenge for the week ahead. Take 10 minutes every day from Sunday to Saturday and read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, found below. It’s a familiar passage and so much more than just a pretty piece to read at weddings. Start or end your day with it, or lunch time, any time. Read it twice if you’re having a bad day. Just read it, every day. Carry it with you.
Next Sunday, look at the questions again. Try not to read what you wrote before and then answer the questions again. Has anything changed?
—Christina Brennan Lee, January 29, 2022
1 Cor 13:1-13 — If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Every week, Christina Brennan Lee writes the Prayers of the People we use in our worship services on Sundays. She also leads weekday prayer services. Click here to see her People’s Prayers website.