1 Corinthians 12:12-14,27-31
British political and legal systems, have well served the countries that inherited them. However, because they are based on adversarial notions (governments and oppositions, prosecutors and defence), without appropriate checks and balances, they have an inherent capacity to cause damage, by pitting individuals and groups against each-other. The common good can be supplanted by winner takes all or winning at all costs. We see examples in the current political instability in the USA and, in the legal arena, by the extraordinary efforts to secure a (wrongful) conviction against Lindy Chamberlain for the murder of her baby.
Being composed of human beings, the Church is not too different from the wider society. Paul, in this letter to the Corinthians, is dealing with squabbles over whose gifts were the most important. In speaking of the gifts of the Spirit, Paul points out that each member of the Body is important—and that the loss of any member brings loss to the whole Body.
Might Paul have been sitting quietly at the recent Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council? I can half imagine him witnessing the dissention and eventually, sighing with relief at the consensus-building over how the gifts which women bring to the Church should be recognised, celebrated and utilised? He might have recorded how: The one Spirit (who) was given to us all to drink, spoke through the pain of the women and their male supporters and opened hearts and minds to the recognition that we are all parts of the one Body.
Sometimes it is difficult to accept in practice, Paul’s emphasis that Christ’s body, the Church, is composed of many members. In our bleaker moments, we can imagine one or two people whose absence might constitute no great loss, however every one of us is important to the life and well-being of the Church, Greeks, Jews, slaves, citizens, women and men.
Brian has been married to Kathleen for 48 years and they have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. For many years he worked with offenders and later with victims of crime. Earlier, he was a registered nurse and, in his salad days, he was a Passionist student. He is involved in the Terrey Hills community, where he is a Passionist Companion.