Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Consider your loyalty

The 7th Sunday after Epiphany        
Year A                                                              
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Back in the day, when you were checking out the typewriters in the showroom, you could see where somebody had inserted a piece of paper and tested the machine by typing a line or two.  There was that bit about the "quick red fox jumped over....." but one of the other things which people would often type out in order to see how smoothly and quickly the machine typed was the line

"Now is the time for every good man to come to the aid of his party".  

I used to be a member of a political party.   I knew some of our local candidates and I can even remember smuggling my daughter into the victory bash at a local Montreal tavern when our candidate won.  There was a scandal, however, in Canada in the early 2000s and we were all disappointed.  It's a long story.  Ask me about it sometime.  But parties are good.  Somehow in the mêlée of contrary opinions good and healthful things emerge in cities and countries.  Not all conflict is hurtful.  We remember the thrill of our candidate doing well and the right opinion (in our opinion) getting the airtime it deserved. 

We are not, however, owned by the party.   It might be only 80% right and very wrong, indeed, about the 20% which remains.  It all needs to be considered in light of something bigger.  And so when Paul takes issues with Christians in Corinth who felt extraordinarily indebted to the preachers who first won them to the Christian faith he reminds them that their debt is not to these men but to the Kingdom they pointed to.  There is no childhood pastor, no first and defining Rector, no Christian leader (who once nurtured you through your divorce or the loss of a loved one) who deserves to be so enshrined in your memory.  They were pointing us to a reality beyond themselves which would supersede them and the community in which they preached.   They might chide us for a degree of excessive loyalty to a time, place and person. 

It wasn't supposed to end with them but, rather, to begin.