Reading the Bible Day 304
Heeyyyyyy yo! We are back at it. Thanks for your patience friends as I was on vacation. I had a lovely time officiating the wedding in Puerto Rico and destroying my body running a 100 mile race. (Only 72 miles of it, but nevertheless.) We will continue right where we left off with 1 Corinthians 7 - 8 and psalm 144. If you have already read ahead and are "current" to where we should be please email me or post a comment about that and I'll happily share with you the PDF for you to keep reading on your own pace. If by chance you had taken a break with me I'd be curious how that was for you? Did you journal? Pray? Or just take a step back to appreciate how special it is reading now that you are returning? Whatever you did I hope you were blessed in it and are as eager as I am to return to our schedule.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What is the primary point Paul is trying to make? What clues does this give about the things the early church was struggling with?
What feels dated? What feels timeless?
Do you agree or disagree with the points that Paul is trying to make? (Catholic priests might be a good reference point for his argument)
- Commentary -
I don't have a ton to share on this specific set of scripture because it's fairly obvious what Paul is talking about. Is it better or marry or be single? Does marriage impede our ability to be more devoted to God? That's a question that the protestant church and Catholic Church have differentiated on, obviously. However, there is one little clue about Paul's "theology" that is present in here that I want to illuminate and draw your attention to. Paul mentions in chapter 7 verse 29-31 that the time is "very short" and that things will "pass away very soon." This is our first real official clue that Paul is known as an apocalyptic preacher. I don't mean Mad Max or Zombies or anything like that but rather Paul (and many, many others) were a style of preacher that believed the world was coming to an end literally tomorrow and that we need to focus all of our attention on making sure we're ready for it. Paul is saying "why do you worry about engagements and weddings? The world will perish before you ever get your wedding day!" It might sound a little crazy like Paul had spent too much time in the sun and not enough water but in all fairness he did see Jesus appear to him and tell him that he would come again to judge the world - and then Jesus gave Paul the great burden to save as many as he could before then. Paul awoke each and every day with belief that he would see Jesus again. It filled him with passion, fear, and purpose. For this very reason it's helpful to view Paul's writing through this understanding of his preacher and convictions. Many people quote Paul's writings and say "look at what Paul is saying to *us*" but the truth of the matter is - Paul never thought there would be an us. Personally, I believe he would shocked to his core to know that some 2000 years later we're still reading his words about a world "ending very soon."
The second coming of Jesus is something that we all claim to believe in but I think if we were honest with ourselves it's something we put on the back burner of our faith life. I don't think many (if any) of you awake like Paul believing that today will be the day Jesus will come back. Why? He hasn't come in the last 2000 years so why today? But I think that's a challenge we should take on. How different would our lives be if we woke with the belief that Jesus would be a guest in our homes that day? I would clean my house 829374923749823749238472398432 times and still not feel prepared, wouldn't you? What habits could we take on or break if we knew that Jesus was coming soon? How much kinder would we be? How much more alive would we feel in our faith? While I am not encouraging you to become an apocalyptic preacher standing on the corner of the street with a megaphone casting doom upon all of people, I do think we can learn something from Paul about taking the second coming of Jesus off the "simmer" eye of our faith "stove" and giving it some more attention than before.
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by the classic Easter hymn - Easter People, Raise your Voices. As our own reading journey has "revived" I hope you can proclaim this hymn with gusto of gratitude for God's word and our study of it.
1 Easter people raise your voices Sounds of heaven in earth should ring
Christ has brought us Heaven's choices
Heavenly music let it ring
Easter people let it sing
2 Fear of death can no more stop us From our pressing here below
For our Lord empowered us
To triumph over every foe
On to victory now we go
Every day to us is Easter
With its resurrection song
When in trouble move the faster
to our God who rights the wrong
See the power of heavenly throngs.