Mon, 19 January 2009
This chapter describes a wide-spread collection of funds for the Church in Jerusalem. Giving sacrificially for Christ - who gave Himself for the human race - was ever on the mind of these early Christians who always gave well beyond the 10% tithing requirement. Tithe money never paid for ecclesial luxuries, but for pressing needs like furthering effective missionary activity and sustaining widows and orphans. The offering described in this chapter is a sort of precursor to what we now know as Peter's Pence; Paul and many young men from the various churches throughout Christendom would later carry their offerings to Jerusalem to lay them at the feet of the apostles. Paul also presents the Gentile Christians to the Lord in the Temple, an act which fulfills a prophesy from Isaiah 60 but incites a riot and leaves him imprisoned.
Paul cannot leave his post in Ephesus until Pentecost, but hopes to return to the Corinthians after passing through Macedonia (cf. v. 5-9). He urges the church to ''Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love'' (13-14).
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians is not a manual of Christian doctrine or rubrics but a personal letter to a specific church with particular predicaments.
Extremely personal, the letter is a riveting apostolic work that arises from love and compels the properly disposed reader to recollect and repent. Although one may not be privy to all the details of the particular Corinthian situation, studying this letter is always profitable. Although focused study is necessary to undermine the full weight of this letter, one's study must never remain purely intellectual but must penetrate to one's spirituality and daily life.
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff's 6 Moments Musicaux Op. 16 - Andantino, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com