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June 24

1 Corinthians 12, 12-13

Something to read

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

Corinth was a major port in Greece and also a major transit centre for trade by land. It was a very cosmopolitan place and a centre of the arts. Paul is answering one of two letters he has received concerning lack of harmony and internal strife in the Corinthian church, a church he had founded. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus (now in Turkey), probably in 57 AD.

Paul is insisting on church unity. But he is saying something very alien to the Corinthians. He is saying that, in Christ, they are all one, whether they are Jews or Greeks (today we might say whether we are black or white), whether they are slaves or free (today we might say whether we are rich or poor).

The idea of human equality did not exist in the Greco-Roman world. Society was rigidly hierarchical. Slaves were property and they could be legally killed by their owners. Paul is now challenging this community to accept each other as equals in Christ.

Something to do

Are there people that make you uncomfortable? Do you feel that some folks are simply too different? This could be just about any group, whether it is based on economics , ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other difference.

If so, spend time with them. Maybe this means volunteering with the homeless, joining a gay-straight alliance, or engaging with an interfaith network. Whether they are Christians or not, you may see them differently – as part of the one humanity that reflects the face of Christ.

Something to pray

O God, grant me the grace to love life and humanity as you do,
for the sake of their infinite possibilities;
to wait like you, to judge like you - without passing judgment,
to obey your command when it is given
and never look back.

Today's contributor is the Rev James Matarazzo Jr, a United Church of Christ (USA) minister from Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to London in 2007. Jim is a founding member of INERELA+ (International Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Affected by HIV and AIDS), a Christian Aid partner. He is now working on a DPhil in Systematic Theology at Oxford University. 

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