June 2, 2017

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-13

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.
–1 Corinthians 12:12-13

One body including all people was the world view followed by Paul. He picked it up from the teachings of Jesus. Paul’s list of groups differing included Jews/Greeks and slaves/free.The first two came from tribes. The latter two resulted from cultural distinctions sometimes resulting from tribal discord. One tribe would steal members of another tribe whom they enslaved. Slaves referred to as servants or bonded also were created within the Hebrew tribe often the result of impoverishment. Such practices are recorded early in the Hebrew Bible* and continued into at least the 18th century among Christians. My five generations back English grandfather at the age of 15 was indentured by his father in 1783 for seven years to learn how to operate a forge. Also during that period his master, also English, was to teach him how to read, write, and cipher. Apparently, it worked. My grandfather labored successfully at a forge for many years and signed his will so I know he could write his name. His younger brother signed his will with an X witnessed by others.

What is not present in that discussion is race. Race is a relatively new cultural classification appearing first in the same century my ancestor was indentured**. Was it created to support the economic need for relatively free labor? I find myself more and more identifying greed and lust for power as the primary sin-drivers in our world. We justify both by projecting them into other more exploitable issues like race. Race is one thing I do not think we can justify by Biblical quotes as it did not exist at the compiling of the Bible.

If we drink of the same Spirit of God, we cannot uphold such distinctions. After years of being carefully taught, it is hard to erase its stain from our beings. I doubt that we can without the power of that same Spirit to heal our souls. Let us drink deeply until we are cleansed.

Prayer: Lord, renew our hearts so that we can be one with all your children. Amen.

*Leviticus 25:39-40
***Picture above is Greek painting of three Chaldeans with captive Hebrews see at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrews

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.