"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians ch. 7: 25-31

"Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful.

I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned: nevertheless, such shall have tribulation of the flesh. But I spare you. This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

And they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away."

I had to read this at our mid week Holy Communion today and I really wondered what on earth it meant. Indeed it seems that this has puzzled scholars of the New Testament through the years, and there appears to be no one definitive answer.

One suggestion is that the Christ's coming was at that time expected to happen any day; not some time in the distant future, but now. Therefore Paul counsels everyone to avoid the distractions of entering new relationships or altering existing ones - as all must be ready for the Lord's coming.

But this is also about Paul's own views on all the principles of marriage in various circumstances.

One third of the New Testament is either written by Paul or about him, including the 13 letters that he wrote to the various churches in the region, and also the second half of The Acts of The Apostles. Apart from Jesus Himself, Paul has had more influence on 2000 years of Christian church history than any other person. And his letters make for some interesting reading. I shall return to them again in the weeks to come.

The picture of course is the view of St Paul's Cathedral across the river Thames by the Millennium Bridge.

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