Sunday, January 22, 2017
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
[Paul writes, ]
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,
by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you be in agreement
and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10
... [A]s nations and individuals, we are interdependent.... It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can't leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that's handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that's given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that's poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that's poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you're desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that's poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that's given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality....
I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers. I still have a dream this morning that one day every Negro in this country, every colored person in the world, will be judged on the basis of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin, and every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. I still have a dream that one day the idle industries of Appalachia will be revitalized, and the empty stomachs of Mississippi will be filled, and brotherhood will be more than a few words at the end of a prayer, but rather the first order of business on every legislative agenda. I still have a dream today that one day justice will roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. I still have a dream today that in all of our state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with their God. I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more.... I still have a dream that with this faith we will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and good will toward men. It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy....
Of course, some of you reading this will have realized by now that the preceding words are those of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. They are taken from a sermon he preached on Christmas Eve, 1967 at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Although he was not speaking directly about our Scripture text from 1 Corinthians 1, he might as well have been.
You can read a transcript of this sermon at
or you can hear it at
In his sermon, just before the last paragraph printed above, he said,
“In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington, D.C., and talked to the nation about many things. Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation about a dream that I had had, and I must confess to you today that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it turn into a nightmare.” Dr. King then recounted the terrorist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the bombings of cities and villages in North Vietnam, and other violent news of those years.
Through repentance, reconciliation, and God-given healing, Jesus offers us that dream. May we live into Jesus’ blessing:
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”