From Kara Dodds
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. -1 Corinthians 16:13-14
These words are battle words, given by a commander to prepare his troops before a fight -so for me, sitting in a warm safe cafe, it seems tough to relate. But the battle the Corinthians were in is the same one we face- the battle to not conform to the culture we live in, but to be formed into Christlikeness.
Be watchful. It was important for the church in Corinth to recognize and guard against the assumptions, moral standards and societal expectations of their day. Comparison, social status, greed, idolatry and sexual immorality have a dangerous leavening influence in the church and must be dealt with.
Stand firm in the faith, act like men. More than holding the ground of sound doctrine, standing firm means both thinking and acting in a manner consistent with faith in Christ. Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for thinking in a natural way (when as spiritual people, they have the mind of Christ) and behaving in a "merely human" way. Jealousy, strife and dissension among them led Paul to address them as infants in Christ, a long cry from the spiritual maturity and Christlikeness they were called to exhibit.
As Christmas approaches we can learn from Paul's exhortation to the church in Corinth to discern the cultural pressures and norms of the season lest we approve of and conform to them. We are continually bombarded with images that tell us this is a season all about excess: excessive spending, shopping, eating, drinking, indulging, even excessive decorating. This is my first Advent with CotC and I am learning from the Anglican tradition a different way. Counter to what culture tells us, this season is best spent not in excess indulgence, but in preparing for the King through repentance and watchful waiting. For our hope is in Christ Jesus who is coming again, and in that day there will great celebration and feasting. In the meantime, be alert, stand firm, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
I am married to Chris, work as an administrative assistant at Harvard Business School, and live in Jamaica Plain.