The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From the Daily Office

1 Corinthians 5: 9 - 6: 8

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolater, since then you would need to go out of the world.  11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber - not even to eat with such a one.  12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  13 God judges those outside.  "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

Chapter 6 - Lawsuits among Believers
1 When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?  2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?  3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels?  How much more, matters pertaining to this life?  4 If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church?  5 I say this to your shame.  Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?  7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you.  Why not rather suffer wrong?  Why not rather be defrauded?  8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren.

These are two very powerful passages that require us to think, not as citizens of the world, but as citizens of the Kingdom of God.  As I understand it, Paul is telling the people of the Church of Corinth not to harbor evil and immoral men within their ranks.  He is presupposing, rightly I might add, that those in the church are committed to avoiding immorality.  I do not think Paul is claiming the members should be perfect and that people be shunned for minor transgressions.  Paul is talking about unrepentant sinners.  We are all sinners, but as believers in Christ Jesus we seek to turn away from sin and find in Christ's forgiveness the means to walk apart from sin and death.  Those who refuse to repent and continue to engage and promote sinfulness remain mired in the ways of the world, and must therefore return to the world, until he can be reconciled to God through Christ.  See 2 Cor 5: 11 - 6: 13

The second part of the reading for today speaks to our present condition; namely the current practice of one group of Christians suing another group of Christians for property and money.  The Current Unpleasantness that grips the Episcopal Church, in truth the entire Anglican Communion, is one that must be settled within the ranks of the Church, not in courts of law in Texas, Illinois, California and Virginia.  It is reprehensible that the leadership of the Church has sought to gain financial advantage over fellow believers in Christ.  Many of those who sought to leave the Church over profound and deeply held doctrinal issues offered means to bring about a fair and equitable departure; yet those offers were rebuffed.  Now, millions upon millions of dollars have gone into the pockets of attorneys around the country.  That is money that could have been used to teach, preach and reinforce the Good News of Jesus Christ among the people of the nations.

Our mission is to bring the people of this land to a personal relationship with God our Father through his Son Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because He is the only way to salvation.  He is the only way to the Father.  He is the only way to everlasting life in Heaven.  If we spend all our time and effort suing each other, how are we supposed to do that?

Fr. Michael+


  1. The utter irony of the whole litigation situation is that all I hear being preached by the "progressive" arm of the church is that buildings don't matter. They say we've got to take the message outside the walls of the church, leave the buildings and take God to the people. And on an on. So to hear them standing in every pulpit and venue preaching about leaving the buildings yet seeing them spend every penny of the church's money on litigation rather than mission work to get even more buildings???? Can they even see how ridiculous that is? Let's take all the money spent on lawyers and court cases and instead use that to further the Gospel of Christ! Buildings are just buildings. Let them go. They are temporary. But the Kingdom of God is Eternal! When you stand before God in judgment do you want to actually stand there and tell God about all the great churches you sued over property? Or would you rather talk about the souls that were saved?

  2. Buildings are good as long as they are not idols. When we worship the building, then our priorities are out of whack.