Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:10-24
Key verses: (19-20a) The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. All the brothers and sisters send greetings.
Reflection: Paul ends his letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth by exchanging greetings among the disciples living in various places. As a missionary preacher, Paul had traveled extensively throughout the region and he knew faithful people scattered all over.
The majority of us likely will never go on an international mission trip. Yet we are called to an awareness that we are part of a church universal. There are faithful disciples of Jesus Christ on every continent. We share a common commitment to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior but we find ourselves in vastly different contexts. We recognize that the Body of Christ is always bigger than our own circle of friends and family, bigger than our neighborhood or city, bigger than our denomination.
In the Apostles’ Creed we affirm a belief in the “holy catholic church” and the word “catholic” means “universal.” Our Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order states “Because in Christ the Church is catholic, it strives everywhere to testify to Christ’s embrace of men, women, and children of all times, places, races, nations, ages, conditions, and stations in life.” A holy catholic church means we are connected by faith with people who are very different from us, who face different challenges than we face, and who bring different gifts and experiences with them.
At Myers Park Presbyterian our ministry partners in Congo, Cuba, El Salvador, Hungary and Uganda are our brothers and sisters in the church universal. Their faithfulness can be a source of inspiration and encouragement to us. Their witness to God’s love challenges us in our own discipleship.
Prayer: O God, your love for the world is wider and deeper than we can ever imagine. We pray for brothers and sisters in the church universal whose names we do not know and whose faces we do not recognize. Teach us to celebrate the gift of our difference while honoring the common faith we share. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].