Excerpt from 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
"When you meet together it brings out your worst side instead of your best."
Refection by William C. Green
The worst side of things is often more memorable than the best. It's always the red lights I remember driving downtown. It's usually the negative comments I remember after meetings.
It's easy to dwell on how things could be better. That's what many did who had spent the winter in Florida when they returned to the congregation I served in the rural Midwest. They spoke of how the pews were packed there, the music outstanding, and the preaching something to envy.
It's also easy to think that times other than our own were better. Faith was stronger and so was the church wherever it was located.
But as Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California, "There is no there there." Another time, another place, look better because we don't notice that what we miss isn't really there either--not in larger churches which face challenges of their own, not in smaller churches like the one St. Paul admonished for bringing out people's worst sides instead of their best.
What we miss isn't "there," somewhere else, or sometime else. It's here and now in the circumstances we face. It's found in the power for good, the presence of God, stronger and more lasting than the best we wish for and the worst we complain about.
Almighty God, free me from thinking too much about what has been or could be. Help me to act better right now in the confidence of your presence. Amen.