“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (12:13)
I certainly read these chapters with new eyes after being in Greece, bouncing between Middle Eastern and Greek culture. While there can be found certain similarities due to millennias of being neighbors, the strong underlying currents of Eastern vs. Western thought still hold strong.
Christianity has morphed through the centuries and through the continents. I’ve spent time in 10 “Christian” nations and seen many contrary applications of Christian life. It is our tendency to take the parts of the Bible that suit us, and leave the rest. There’s also the historical aspect of many Christians living out the religion their priest or pastor suggests since they don’t or can’t read the Bible themselves.
If we started wearing head coverings when we prayed, here in America, we would feel uncomfortable. We would hate to be lumped in with Jews and Muslims, right? But here in chapter 11, there’s no denying we share similar roots. Principals the very first Christian westerners (Greeks, this time in Corinth) also immediately rejected.
Ancient Greece was full of goddess worship, much of which scandalized the institutions of marriage. Maybe Paul was addressing this. Feminism takes many forms, swinging out from under oppression to grab hold of equality. We must be careful of our defensive swings. Over compensation misses the point. We must seek the plumb line truth.
Similarly so with communion: one place uses grape juice, feeling wine is a gateway to immorality, another uses wine, feeling grape juice is unbiblical and not representing Christ. People are hungry, people are drunk. The Lord’s table, which should be a demonstration and command for sacrificial love, turned into an unfair party.
The struggle of Christianity is often finding the timeless truth and applying it to our cultural context. These chapters are leading into Paul’s famous ode to love in 13. It should be noted, picking and choosing biblical commands to suit are cultural context is a very slippery slope.
THANKFULLY, we are given the Holy Spirit. He grants us gifts of power, decernment, wisdom and knowledge, but spreads them out. We need each other. We need international us. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit which unites us.
We are not independent. We are dependent on HIM and interdependent on each other. Remember to place those values highly for one another, and on time, listening to what the Spirit has to say. Also, of course, reading the word.
We’ve got this, He’s got us. It’s gonna be great.