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    Third Sunday after Epiphany

    Preacher: David Macdonald

    Category: Faith

    “If we all were a single member…where would the body be?”
    [1st Corinthians 12]
    Smaller churches tend towards individuality.
    There are many reasons for this.
    Mostly because they are made up of people who pride themselves on self-reliance.
    This is accepted as a
    ‘civic gospel’.

    But this is not what the Christian gospel teaches us…or St. Paul…or what the Celtic model of church stood for.

    The gospel of Christ is one of interconnectedness rather than independence.

    We are told by Christ himself…that the sum of the scriptures…the very essence of the way…is summed up in full by this:
    “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind…and your neighbor as yourself.”
    We are to supplant “self” with God…&…focus on what is good for others.
    Something far from crusty American independence.

    this means we are to be centered on:

    • God is first…the country second
    • The community first…our own needs second
    • Humility first…pride last
    [who said Christianity isn’t challenging!]

    St. Paul
    Points out that we are a single entity…made up of many different personalities.
    St. Paul was the person who defined congregational theology.

    He saw tendency toward selfish individualism…that groups of likeminded people tend towards ascendancy over others…to keep things as they have always been…to maintain the pecking order…

    Paul said that healthy & authentic Christian communities are to trend towards…living as if we need one another.
    That church communities
    Are one body in Christ…
    With many members together…

    St. Paul’s theology pushes our boats out into the current…and then expects us to get the gist of things…together!

    What he taught in his day…is still applicable in our own time…

    We are a people of the ‘schema’…that
    all-consuming command to love God & and our neighbors…
    all races, all peoples, men or women, young or old, rich or poor, single, married, partnered…Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, and those of any other faith. And (oh yes) any visitor who comes to us with God’s love & sanctuary.

    All are indispensable…if one suffers…the whole body suffers…if one is blessed…all are blessed.

    So let us get on with it here this Celtic community of Christian believers in the seasons before us…

    Let us love God with all our heart, soul, and mind…and our neighbors as ourselves.
    I say these things to you in the name of god:
    Father, Son & Holy Spirit