“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 12:13
Thursday, 27 May 2021
1 Corinthians 12:3-13
If we accept that Pentecost is the ‘birthday’ of the Church, that through the Holy Spirit, the Church is the Risen Christ in the world, we should be deeply distressed by the disunity we see in the Christian community today: denominationalism, factionalism, ‘culture wars’ and other pathologies. I think Paul’s observations warn us against any such ideological divisions and point-scoring among Christians.
Paul also suggests a way out of this mess. We need to ask ourselves: who are the ‘Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons’ in the Church today? On a basic level, they are the many different people who are a part of the church – of all races, social classes, genders and states of life, indeed all the different groups that call themselves Christian. Paul’s vision of inclusiveness that he spells out to the church in 1st century Corinth should be the default position for us all. No one should be excluded. All who love God and seek the good are welcome.
I want to take this a step further. If we accept the idea that God’s Spirit fills the whole world, we need a similar sense of openness to people of other faiths or none. They, too, are in God, no matter how they experience (or don’t experience) God. Naturally, just as we should accept the diverse ways Christians experience and worship Christ, we should respect non-Christians’ ways of understanding the Mystery at the heart of the human condition. As with other Christians, we need to find what we all hold together in common.
Do I welcome other Christians? Do I welcome non-Christians? How might I do this – or do it better?