Friday, August 28, 2015

Responsible For One Another

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

In this section Paul gets detailed about what should happen in worship. It would be easy to get lost in the details, however, that is not the intention of the passage. What Paul is trying to convey is worship should have order and intention. When the church gathers for worship it is not a free-for-all where each person does whatever they think is right.

Also in the passage is one of the more challenging things from Paul, his teaching about the role of women in worship. Have you ever had a scripture passage that you wish was simply not there? This is one of them. At the same time, it is included in our text. We could simply dismiss it on the grounds that the Bible was put together by a group of men who wanted to keep women down. While this might be true, it is too simple an answer.

Another argument that could be made is one of cultural context. Paul was writing to a particular church, addressing a particular pastoral concern of that church. Once again this may be true, and it is too simple an answer. The option always exists to write off Paul as wrong and dismiss this and all his teaching. Yet again too simple a solution. Perhaps we simply need to live with the tension of the words from Paul and our experience in the church. Many wonderful and powerful women proclaim the message and truth of God in the pulpit, classroom, office and every other room of the church. Perhaps there is not an easy answer.

Now we add another layer of marriage to this passage. According to Paul, if a woman has a question in church she should ask her husband at home. Never mind there is not conversation about whether the husband would know the answer, we can again get lost in the details. If we look at this passage in a literal way, there are many things missing from many of our worship services. If we look at the spirit of the passage we find there to be a mutual responsibility for each others faith.

An important aspect of this teaching from Paul helps us to realize the faith journey of our spouse is not independent of the marriage relationship. Husband and wife walk together through journey of growing deeper in living a life of transformation. If one spouse has questions the most logical place to engage the question is our marriage partner. From there the other resources of our faith can be engaged.

Before we are married the development of our life in Christ for the most part is our own responsibility. Once we are married, we are responsible for our own still, yet we are also responsible for the development of our spouse. Not just husband to wife, or wife to husband, but a mutual journey where we seek after God with intention and hope.

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