2 Corinthians 16:14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…
I live in the state of Texas – Dallas to be specific. This is still considered the “Bible belt” area of the US. In other words, Christianity still has influence in local culture in a way that is not necessarily true in other parts of the country. But even in Texas, the influence of Christianity is waning.
Which made my experience yesterday all the more surprising. My daughter Danielle graduated from high school yesterday, which was great. At the beginning of the graduation proceedings one of the student class officers offered a prayer. And when I say “prayer” I mean just that. It was not a moment of silence, or a brief reflection, or some other bland statement designed to offend as few people as possible. It was a heartfelt prayer to God. Not a prayer to Jesus, but a prayer to God.
And on the one hand I was wonderfully surprised. One does not often hear corporate prayers spoken in public these days. And the nature of the prayer would have left space for Christians, Jews, and other religious believers to embrace it. However, I was also aware there are a growing number of people who claim no faith at all. I wondered how those people experienced our time of corporate prayer. Were they offended? Did they welcome the prayer? Did they ignore the prayer as no big deal?
In our passage from today the apostle Paul was writing to the Christians of ancient Corinth as they struggled to define appropriate boundaries as people of faith in a non-believing culture. Seems to me our context is becoming more and more like that of ancient Corinth. How do we make our way as people of faith in a world increasingly apathetic or even hostile to Christianity?