Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1 Corinthians 11

. . . a few days late . . .

2-16 takes us back to cultural norms and practices that have little application in our world. It must also be taken in harmony with the rest of the Bible. Look at 14 -- a man wearing long hear is degrading. What are we to do with Samson or Absalom in the OT who were known for their uncut hair? The principle that does apply here is consistent in the Bible and it is the principle of the need for a "spiritual" cover. That is none of us stand alone but we stand in covenant and community and within the community all leaders have those who oversee their work. I am covered by my District Superintendent who is covered by the Bishop and the council of Bishops cover each other. No one human being stands spiritually independent of the whole.

The rest of Chapter 11 has to do with instructions for the Corinthian church on celebrating the "Lord's Supper". We call it Communion or even Eucharist (a good Greek word meaning "Thanksgiving"). Once again this passage should not be taken independent of the other passages in the New Testament that teach about Communion. It must be held in balance with the last supper itself with Luke 24 (the Emmaus Road story) and other places. Essentially the issue is the Corinthians were having a "Banquet" at communion and it was beginning to look and sound like the pagan rituals that were going on in the other temples in town. Our call to a more somber celebration is in order. We are declaring the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and should do so with grace and dignity and self awareness.

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