As it is often detached from its broader context and treated as a standalone paean to love, the significance of 1 Corinthians 13 within Paul’s overarching argument about the Church as a polity is often neglected. When the context of this chapter is appreciated once more, its political significance will emerge.
Paul’s vision of a social body formed around a crucified Messiah turns on their head many of the prevailing dominance models of society of his own day. The concern for members of society otherwise marginalized and devalued produced by such a political vision is one with considerable relevance to our own day.
Paul’s argument that spiritual gifts are the manifestation of the one Gift of the Spirit, given for the service of the common good, provides a useful starting point for reflection upon the meaning of representation in society more generally. The ecclesiological vision of 1 Corinthians 12 resonates in challenging ways in our polarized political cultures, summoning us to new modes of engagement.
Many of my friends on social media have changed their profile pictures to the Arabic N to indicate their support for and solidarity with Christians who are currently being persecuted in the Middle East. A White House petition calling for the United States Government to offer support to Christians in Iraq has over 41,000 signatures at the time that I am writing this, and is quickly adding more. . . . How should Christians feel about all of this?