Saturday 18 September 2010

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

"So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body." (v.42-44)

1 Corinthians 15:35-49 Saturday 18 September 2010


However much we want to read the Bible as timeless truth (andI'm not suggesting that we shouldn't) it is important to understandthe background and historical setting against which particularpassages were written.

The church in Corinth was a community that was entirely new toChristian ideas and Christian ways. The peopleof Corinth were trying to absorb ideas that, for them, were verystrange indeed, and they didn't find it easy. What Paul says intoday's reading may come across as speculative and questionable,but it does show how he spared no effort in his attempts to helphis puzzled Corinthian friends get the point. Perhaps it is thatmessage - Paul's urgent creativity in sharing the gospel (the goodnews of Jesus) - that matters to us as much as the specifics ofwhat he was saying.

What is a "spiritual body"? What kind of a question is this? Itleaves us baffled.

Paul is talking about our identity, our self, the bit of ourselvesthat we (and those who are close to us) have such problems with.How much of that 'real me' is left when our bodies finally falterand fail? What is that real me anyway? Paul's claim is that thisreal me is what God is able to transform out of almost allrecognition, yet it remains 'me' and no-one else. It is not blendedinto a universal 'soul soup'. It is only as individuals that we canengage in social relationships.

In saying all this, Paul is reminding his readers what it is abouthumanity that God values above all. It is our capacity to relate inlove to other people. It can be hard, certainly. We learn thisskill in families, but families are sometimes less than perfect(perhaps because we are less than perfect). We can learn it too incommunity life, especially (we hope) in the life of the Church. TheChurch is the training ground for real life.

To Ponder

How does the life of your church, or your family,encourage people to play a full part and discover themselves? Ordoes church present too great a risk for them? Or perhaps for you?What might you do to change this?

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