One God One People

“There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

I almost always have something on my person with which to take notes. I currently carry a Moleskin notebook that fits nicely in the back pocket of my jeans. Sometimes it is a 3×5 index card wallet (I write my to-do list on those for the day). If nothing else, I can use the Notes app on my iPhone.

Late last week, I had a great idea for a blog post. I didn’t write it down. It’s gone. All I have is the memory of having an idea.

The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory” — Chinese proverb

Shema

The best I remember of what I was thinking came from my reading of N.T. Wright’s study of Paul, “Paul and the Faithfulness of God.”

He pointed out in a discussion (of several hundred pages) of Paul’s “rewriting” of his Scriptures leading to developing a new Shema (quoted above from 1 Corinthians 8:6). In the Greek, God is YHWH (we pronounce Yahweh or the Latin Jehovah, Jews would not pronounce) and Lord is the Greek kyrios–a word in the original Greek translation of the Scriptures that also refers to God. An interesting thing to ponder.

While reading Wright’s key passage, 1 Cor 8-10, my eye fell on a verse in chapter 11 about women. The verse, taken by itself (which you should almost never do), contained a seeming put-down of women. But this morning I returned to the passage and read the entire argument of 1 Cor 11-12.

That passage talks about the mutual submission of men and women. Something to meditate on when considering our relationships. But that’s another topic. It continues to discuss divisions in the church (ekklesia) in Corinth.

Read 8-12 as one long argument, and you get Paul’s main point. We have one God (the Creator in the Old Testament and the Father in the New), and one Lord (Jesus in the New Testament, the person who was God revealed to the people), and one ekklesia (gathering of people).

When we gather as a people of God, contention is not a Spiritual gift. It is not to be allowed. Social differences are to be put aside. Political differences are to be put aside. Personality issues are to be put aside. We worship the one God through the One who revealed God to the people as one people.

Imagine the letters Paul would write today to all of our churches about this core teaching of his. He’d need an army of admins to compile the email database to send us all the reprimands that we need and the instruction we need.

One God, One Lord, One People. Remembering that daily is perhaps the fundamental Spiritual Discipline we need today.

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