1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Grace and peace to you from God and Jesus.
I always thank God for you, because in Jesus you have become graceful. In Jesus your lives have become full of everything. You speak so well! You’ve become so smart! And you can tell the story of Jesus so well! Truly, you have everything you need to wait out Jesus’ return. And Jesus will make you strong to the finish. You’ll have no regrets in the end. God is faithful, and it’s God’s calling that makes you part of the Jesus movement.
The Corinthian church was, in fact, a hive of the worst kind of church politics, divisions and squabbles. So it’s hard to say whether Paul is writing this in the attempt to be flattering or to be sarcastic. Perhaps a little of both.
But, in any event, Paul is outlining what a good church ought to be: graceful, well-spoken, smart, able to tell the story of Jesus, living by the power of doing what Jesus did and doing it with no apology or regrets.
If a church is doing that, it will be as if Jesus has indeed returned, at least for the parts of the world it touches. And, last time I checked, Jesus’ coming is what Advent is about.