I have been lead pastor at GWAC since the end of 2006, so its been a few years and I have seen lots of great things happen. Sometimes however, things happen that end up doing more harm than good! In 2008, I walked into the office one morning and decided enough was enough. The sink was overflowing with dishes – most of them dirty. Multiple cups, plates, cutlery. You could have been excused for thinking we employed 30 staff not 10, there were so many utensils. I washed everything up and dried them, I got the trolley on wheeled and I moved all of the crockery and cutlery back into the main kitchen and replaced everything with paper plates, plastic tea spoons, one foam hot beverage cup per person and sent an email advising staff that it was not acceptable that people leave their dirty cups etc in the sink for someone else to clean. I also advised them; (1) bring in their own cup for use in the office, (2) I had put labels on two mugs with ‘guest’ and ‘volunteer’ so that we could provide for those people (3) until further notice, no other utensils were permitted in the office kitchenette. The clear message – your actions are doing more harm than good and a circuit breaker was needed.
In todays devotional reading, Paul is issuing a ‘circuit breaker’ to the church in Corinth because their actions are hurting people and harming the church (vs 21-22) Paul goes on to reinforce the significance of positive harmonious relationships that reflect genuine care and compassion for one another (vs 27-28) The discernment of the body of Christ that he mentions means that they ought to know what their actions do to others and moderate their behaviour so that others are cared for. In fact, his reference to the consequences of their actions in vs 29-31 are quite damning and alarming. He gives them his version of an “until further notice” email in vs 33 – 34 and concludes by telling them that when he comes to visit them he will give further instructions in the hope that they can return to sharing full meals together as they celebrate the Lords Supper.
Think about what you say and do as you gather with others at gathered celebrations – do you engage with people and lovingly include others or are you more focused on conversation with your chosen few? What connections can you see?