How old are you, really? (1 Corinthians 3:1-9)

Y’all I do apologize that this blog is coming so late this week! And it still is true, last Sunday we gathered round the table as is our tradition, and after settling in & mostly finding the seats that we usually sit in (because, well we are rather creatures of habit which can be both a blessing & a challenge), and some grabbed or topped off their cups of coffee, we opened with prayer.

Then we checked-in, the prior lifework had been to give at least one person who was not already on our list of recipients, a valentine. Some found it a little fun, choosing to gift many people valentines & we even got to learn about a fun (& cost-effective) way of giving online & interactive cards. Some had forgotten & even gave out a valentine or two that day. What was interesting though, was that we didn’t seem to want to share too much about the experience, but even with that some of us around the table had been the recipients of an unexpected valentine and found it very moving to receive one unexpected. And for those who did give out one or even multiple valentine’s — the shared experience in the giving was that it typically brought joy to both the giver & the receiver! So even without too much to share it was a blessing of some lifework to experience & a good reminder for us all to share some love in the world — amen?! (And don’t worry….I’m sure it’ll be an annual life-work assignment — but FYI you don’t have to wait a whole year to offer some unexpected joy or love into someone’s life!)

So after checking in we turned to 1 Corinthians 3:1-9:

My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.

Some of you say that you follow me, and others claim to follow Apollos. Isn’t that how ordinary people behave? Apollos and I are merely servants who helped you to have faith. It was the Lord who made it all happen. I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow. What matters isn’t those who planted or watered, but God who made the plants grow. The one who plants is just as important as the one who waters. And each one will be paid for what they do. Apollos and I work together for God, and you are God’s garden and God’s building.

Common English Version (CEV) translation

We heard the scripture read aloud three times with silence between each reading to allow the Holy Spirit to direct our attention where God desired for last Sunday. What came up was rich conversation. Talking about milk, the necessity that milk must come first (and while I don’t think it was mentioned, also of great interest is to consider just how important milk & often the mother’s milk (if possible, and formula if not) is for the overall health & thriving of a person — the fact that the time for milk consumption is vital for health…) There was recognition that we all have different roles, and no need to be jealous of each other — because it is God & God alone who does the growing & we’re all on God’s team….but as the scripture mentions, it can be hard to be “spiritual” and often we find ourselves rather “worldly,” or “fleshly,” or “carnal,” depending on what translation you might be following. We tried to talk about what eating solid food (“meat”) in our spiritual lives might look like — but of course that (like eating meat!) is hard, takes time, can cause indigestion or perhaps even invite us to a nap after consuming…we didn’t get too far in this vein, but it was noted.

And perhaps that’s rather expected, because we know that while God is the one growing each of us, and the Triune God is who we follow…our egos can often get in the way and we do find — or have found — (even dare I say in our own church?) that there can be times of distension, of arguing, of perhaps even jealousy… And that of course is hard because we all are on this journey of life, of love, of following God & we don’t always get it right (part of why every week we confess together in worship & ask forgiveness from God!) — but we want to, we want to be spiritual children of God who can eat the meat that God/Christ/Holy Spirit feeds us for our growth & good & we’re trying; and on our best days I think we trust that so is everyone else! So it can be hard to consider if we indeed are acting Christ-like, if we are speaking in love, encouraging each other, letting God be God & serving in the way that God invites us to with great humility — not easy service of course!

But…we all know that even while the conversation can be rich the clock keeps on ticking & usually there’s a homework/lifework assignment and last week was no different. And indeed….perhaps if you’ve forgotten there’s still time to consider….because the homework was some personal thinking/reflecting on two questions:

  • 1st: Think about/figure out — How old are you in Christ? Yes, please think of an actual age (#) & why you think this is so! (fun right???)
  • 2nd: Consider…is it possible to be mature in Christ & to simultaneously have a child-like faith??? Why or why not?

Y’all…looking forward to seeing you & seeking God with you & being blessed by being near you so soon.

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater