1 Corinthians 1:10-18 (NRSV)
Verse 10Now 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. Verse 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. Verse 12What I mean is that each of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Verse 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Verse 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, Verse 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. Verse 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
Verse 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. Verse 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
A group of quilters gathers around a piece of cloth. It is the genesis of an act of love that, when completed and given away, will change a life for the better. Among the craftspeople are differing political opinions, theological viewpoints, and ways of looking at the world. But they are united by baptism into Christ, and in that communion they are unified by Jesus' love. And it is a love that makes all the difference in the world.
Paul addresses the dark clouds of division that threaten the church in Corinth. He reminds his audience to look at the bigger picture. What matters most is their unity in Christ and their common, shared identity as baptized and beloved children of God. Paul's words can also shine some light for us today, reminding us of to whom we belong, in whom we are unified, and through whom we are blessed to bless others.
Lord Jesus Christ, keep us united in you, and in our communion help us to share your love. Amen.