The Places of our Planting
Ancient Corinth is dominated by the Temple to Apollo which sits above the town center. Below sprawl the remains of shops, colonnades, and even the bema, or speaking platform, where the Apostle Paul was once accused before the proconsul Gallio.
Paul was a resident of Corinth for some time. He worked in the city as tentmaker alongside fellow believers Aquila and Priscilla. He spent time in the local synagogue, going there regularly. The spirit of God even urges Paul to continue to stay in Corinth, sharing the gospel of Jesus. For a time, a year and more, Corinth is home to Paul.
And Corinth like any city, town, or village was a chaotic mixture of sin, grace, and redemption. Paul’s words were heard by many: sailors just in from the sea, prostitutes plying their trade, Jews, God Fearers of various backgrounds, Roman officials, Greeks, and soldiers.
As Paul walked through this town, now little more than rocks with a history, he encountered humans at their best and their worst. Beggars extended their hands to him, Roman soldiers shoved past him, prostitutes beckoned him, slaves hustled by, and Believers, coming from any and all of these groups, greeted him with thanksgiving.
Just as God planted Paul in Corinth for a time, God plants us too and bids us flourish for the sake of the Gospel. We may also have misgivings about the place of our planting. Perhaps it is somewhere that disappoints us or frightens us. Maybe the place of our planting is not what it used to be or should be. Whatever the place of our planting, God is the one who put us there and God is the one who puts us to work enriching and renewing a tired, cynical, and despairing world.
Rarely is the place of our planting what it should be, but that is the very reason that God plants us there. We are not spectators to the coming kingdom of God, we are involved, rooted in God’s saving work.
Paul’s time in Corinth shows us what it is to claim the place of our planting. Jesus’ life on earth does the same. We are invited to love the soil where God has placed us, care for the people growing up around us, and claim the community God has given us to tend. This community will not be perfect. It may even be a place of disappointment, frustration, and discouragement. However, we have the assurance that this will not always be so. God is at work renewing and recreating our world and we are involved: in our homes, in our towns, in the places of our planting.
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About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.