By Craig Mattson, Washington Conference vice president for education


In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul begins with an appeal; an appeal that seems almost unachievable in the world church today.

Starting in verse 10, Paul writes, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and spirit. My brothers and sisters from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you,” (1 Cor. 1:10-11).

Paul was calling for peace in a church family that was experiencing division, polarization, and descent. When I reread this book recently, my initial reaction of these words as measured against the broader world events of 2020 sounded something line this: “Wow, this seems impossible!”

The world of 2020 was far from idyllic before the Covid-19 pandemic. Our entire world seems ensnared with political polarization, economic instability, opposing theologies, chronic sickness; and the list goes on. Then, a global pandemic followed by national racial tensions.

There are many themes trending on social media that point to 2020 as being a year of absolute disaster. How, in the midst of all of this, can we even think about unity in the church family? But, Paul’s call is not made in a theological vacuum.

After a short diagnosis of the disruptions in the church at Corinth, Paul makes that incredible statement in verse 22 noting that while “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, we preach Christ crucified.”

And that is the one hope, the only hope, the galvanizing statement that truly is the remedy for family unity. Christ crucified, when truly placed as the focal point of our church experience, is the power of unity.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.,” (John 1:1). Christ crucified is much more than a message, it is a force with the power to truly pull us together – shifting our focus from the toils of this world and pulling our focus upward to the risen Christ.

Let us join together in praying for God’s healing presence in our homes, churches, schools, and communities. And let us pray with hope and wholeness in this year of disaster for God to intervene and protect us as we look forward with hope.