Here we go again! That apostle Paul, speaking in run-on sentences, hyperbole, and what some would call “reverse psychology.” Paul continues his argument with the church in Corinth about what God’s wisdom is really about. This is anything but a polite rhetoric of words to enhance a church to “move on.” It is rather a confined group of words that may even crush a church from looking any further than the front of it’s nose.
Christmas was great, wasn’t it? A great time of worship experiences, laughter, joy, and the sense that Jesus had come into our lives and was present in such an abundant way. As most American Protestant Christians, we are happy with that picture and content with moving on toward our church seasons of Lent and then Easter. We want to do this all in good time, with enough space and allowance for our flowers to get planted and start blooming, baseball to get underway, and the beauty of a warm spring afternoon to settle around us. We truly are people of comfort. We want things to go our way, to be patterned in such a way that there is minimal if any, disruption in our livelihood.
We are blessed in that the disagreements, clashes, and quarrels are at a minimum here at St. Timothy’s. How blessed we are! But we cannot kid ourselves that there are not divisions among our larger faith community and the world.
What a wonderful religious text we have this morning. For most of us in the United Methodist Church this is an “anti-religious” text. Why? Well simply put, this text tells us not to let anyone eat unless they pay for their food! This pretty much negates our view on all inclusive pot-lucks, any food pantry ministry we may contribute to and the like. For the pious intent we see here in Paul’s letter suggests that no one who is not worthy, or hasn’t labored for their food cannot partake in the meal. He basically tells the responsible Christians to keep their distance from the “slackers” and for the “slackers” to get back to work or don’t expect to eat. Sounds pretty harsh at the uptake. However, once again we need to do a little homework and work to understand what the condition of the church was at that time.