I Corinthians 3: 16 – 23
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’,
‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
In his book Imagine Church, Neil Hudson writes: “The goal of a whole-life disciple-making church arises from the Biblical conviction that Jesus is Lord of all and that the core vocation of the Church is to make whole-life missionary disciples” (2012, p. 84). Hudson makes the case for Christian communities to be supportive and nurturing in such a way as to encourage each other to be disciples in their daily lives, when they are scattered, at work, school, Aldi, wherever. This is Church as a community that puts Christ at its centre – on Sunday when together and throughout the week, when apart. Gathered and scattered – still Church, still ‘God at work’ in the world through and within human beings.
In this part of his letter, Paul continues his case for how the Corinthians should be Church together. The question in verse 16 should have brought a lightbulb moment for the hearers. Paul encourages them to look beyond their little community. To consider how they gather together and for what purpose. Paul encourages them not to overthink this. Might sound foolish to the wise folk of this world, but God’s foolishness is wiser than the wisest of wise guys. Paul reminds them that the apostles and teachers that have taught them are not leaders to create some kind of earthly hierarchy. No – the order is this. Apostles serve the students. The students become the church. The Church is Christ’s body. Christ belongs to God. It would be unwisely foolish to think otherwise. We can get wrapped up in our own structural wisdom that we completely forget Christ.
“Don’t you all know that you are God’s holy structure and that God’s Spirit lives within and dwells among all of you?” As we consider how we ‘do church’ together, Paul would encourage us not to lose sight of the fact that we ARE Church together and God’s spirit dwells there. That alone should bring us to our knees in awe.
God, we thank you that we don’t have to be the wisest people.
You choose us anyway. Sometimes more than once as we wander away and you call us back.
Remind us who we are. Remind us of your Spirit at work within and among us.
Wherever we go, remind us of your presence with us and your love for the people we meet there.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen