I Corinthians 1:1-9 (NRSV)
Chapter 1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, Verse 2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Verse 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, Verse 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind- Verse 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you- Verse 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The ancient city of Corinth was a thriving center of trade. Like other port cities, it had attracted inhabitants from all over the Mediterranean world and "harbored" a certain reputation for vice. The apostle Paul writes to a young Christian community struggling with these and many issues, including divisions within the church.
Yet, even knowing their struggles, Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians not with chastisement, but with words of encouragement: "Grace to you and peace" and "You are not lacking in any spiritual gift."
I'm not aware of any church that hasn't had some struggles or experienced some division in its ranks. The church is imperfect, but even so, it is sanctified or set apart, as we are called to reveal Christ. In this season of Epiphany we are called to reveal the light of Christ to others until that final day when he is fully manifested to all people.
Gracious God, you have chosen us — imperfect vessels — to reveal Christ in a troubled world. By the gifts of your Spirit help us to boldly proclaim your grace and peace through faith, hope, and love. Amen.