Wellsprings of Hope

February 9, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human? –1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Because Abraham Lincoln quoted the phrase “a house divided against itself cannot stand”, many think it originated with him. Jesus initiated the saying as reported in both Matthew 12:22-28 and Mark 3:24. I am glad that President Lincoln used it as philosophical glue to hold our country together during the Civil War. I fear politicians today thrive on division. Paul realized the harm in taking sides, one follower of Christ against another, and strongly urged the new communities of faith to avoid such behavior. I firmly believed that God created diversity because no individual or single group has all the answers to life’s challenges. We all must work together to make the Kingdom of God reality.

Ruby Payne* in her work addressing poverty, particularly as it impacts education, points out that people at various income levels have markedly differing life views. I was surprised when I took the tests included in her work to realize I knew little if anything about surviving in poverty (even though I had worked with poverty programs for years at the time) and knew even less about being wealthy. I scored well on being middle class.

Robert Kennedy, raised in wealth, advocated eloquently for the poor. How did he gain the insights needed to champion the cause of the poor? He dwelt among them. He traveled through the worst impoverished areas in the USA, played with the children, talked with the parents, and got a gut full of the horrors of malnutrition and hopelessness.

It takes effort, persistence, and patience to work with diverse opinions, but unity, oneness is the only thing that does work.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see the beauty in all your children, make us wellsprings of hope as we work to be one in your love. Amen.

*See A Framework for Understanding Poverty: A Cognitive Approach by Ruby Payne and Bridges Out of Poverty by Ruby Payne and others with information at http://www.ahaprocess.com/solutions/community/

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.