The Christian Seasons Calendar that hangs on my wall is open in this season after Epiphany to a painting by Kirsten Malcolm Berry titled “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6). Fault lines are showing in First Church Corinth over which minister is to be credited with success and which one is to be labelled a failure. Paul keeps the focus on God. Once again the little church in Corinth pre-figures so many of our congregational stories.
My earliest memories of worship are of singing: "Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!" I didn't know what the word holy meant, but I knew that it was associated with God. "Only thou art holy, merciful and mighty." God and only God was holy.
This is not a Sunday for soft-pedalling the gospel. Moses and Jesus
portray the life of faith as a "yes" or a "no" to God with lives that
obey or that disobey. It is little wonder that it is common to summarize
Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount with one verse, the "Golden
Rule" (Matthew 7:12).
Although I was raised in a preacher's household and have been a preacher myself for three decades, my own conversion happened gradually. I didn't even realize what I was going through until one of my parishioners told me that the congregation had been watching my conversion one Sunday, one sermon at a time.