Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dancing with the Light Fantastic

“I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.”

~1 Corinthians 3:21-23 (Msg).

There are so very many aspects of our faith, and so very many things we could argue about, either positively or negatively. God never cuts us off from the knowledge of God; only we do. And we do this when we settle for our revelation of the things of God only.

We’re given the keys to the entire kingdom but we polarise the faith to suit our own needs and our own personalities. This is a blasphemous folly, it really is, for it takes God and twists the Deity into a tight little package of our own design—it has a name: idolatry!

A Short Verse to Capture the Mood

This reality—all things mine,

especially the matters of those Divine,

we face right now a beating interest,

resplendent delight, a shame to relinquish.

Paul’s Context

The Corinthians, like we’re apt in doing when we choose our corner of the faith, as it is presented, had their allegiances with one of the apostles of their choice—as if God was holding some ballot called, “Who’s the most popular apostle?”

Paul’s very point in this context is not that the Corinthians belong to one apostle over the other, but that the apostles—all of them, because they’re under God—belong to the Corinthians.[1]

The key concept here is the teacher of God belongs to the Body of Christ, not the Body to the teacher (see 1 Corinthians 4:1). Teachers are servants; they are not to have a ‘band of brothers (or sisters)’ who are to be stuck to them like glue—we’re to ‘stick’ to Christ and God alone.

What This Truly Means for Us

Grace is a voluminous concept, it truly is. Everything is ours; this is the concept that our allegiance isn’t to a pastor, a priest, a particular sage, a guru, a teacher, a guide, or anyone else.

We are free to spend our allegiance all over Christ in God.

We are able here—under the covenant of grace—to explore the full faith, to the explosion of our broader edification, and not have to hold to one thing over another, as if to vote on importance, as if one theological or spiritual concept were more relevant than another. All of it is equally relevant.

We dance with the light fantastic, joyfully, and with great hope, for our theology expands as the universe does, in quantum shifts of awe in the pungently capacious realm of God.

In this mind, we’re open to all things, and we certainly cannot be offended at another’s firm view. We add it to our own and let God do the talking, always conforming our understanding to the Spirit of truth, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Under this cosmic arrangement of kingdom thought, we belong to God as the Church—God’s Spirit defining and moulding the Body and us simply congruent i.e. gleefully in step with it all.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians – Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2003), p. 124.

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