Reading and Prayer – March 4

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Prayer:

Dear God and Father of us all;

We pray for a church divided. We are divided by denomination, by style, by understanding. Sometimes, even our congregations are divided into opposing camps, over issues large and issues tragically small. Oftentimes, church leaders promote division, claiming a monopoly on the truth. Too often, prominent church leaders fail, leaving wounds in the body of Christ, and bringing disrepute to all.

Help us to remember, each and every day, that we are called to be a church united in faith, in hope, and in love. Bring to each of our minds relationships that need to be healed in our own lives. Place within our hearts those of our own congregation to whom we need to reach out in friendship. Lead us to make connections with Christians in other churches, that we might share our faith and be enriched by our differences. 

Help us to have the heart of Jesus, who prayed that we all may be one, and that we be known to all by our love for one another. Amen.