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The famous artist Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King in our capitol communicates hope and justice as his “I Have A Dream” speech articulated. It reminds me of the way the Apostle Paul spoke of the church at Corinth. Even though that congregation was beset with numerous moral failings, the apostle looked beyond the failings to envision what God intended the church to be. In chapter 1, he calls them holy—saints—despite all their failures. In fact, God’s church is composed of the most diverse crew you can imagine. It consists of people with various levels of education, income, social standing, ethnic diversity, cultural backgrounds, and spiritual maturity. No other entity in society can make that claim. God welcomes everybody. When all these various individuals come together, you would expect conflict. Yet despite the makeup of this motley crew of Christian believers, God expects the church to welcome all who confess Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. That is because, like the sculptor envisioning an image in a stone, God looks at what we can become, not what we are today. Mature Christians realize that. They stop thinking of the church as an elite social club, but as it truly is, the Body of Christ.

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