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Úvod  > Making Sense  > The People of God

The People of God

The best summary of our discussion on Sunday on models of the People of God (the Church) was the grammar comment: Do we speak of the Church in the first person (we/us) or the third person (they/them)? How we speak reveals who we think owns the church, who belongs to it.
We discussed two contemporary images of team and orchestra. Both include a diversity of essential members in one organism. The pastor, acting alone as coach or lead violin/conductor, would be a failure without the players. And of course It would be impossible for the players in any team or orchestra to call it ‘them’.
Do we feel the same about the two Old Testament types that we noted, though without reading in detail? - the family of Abraham called in Genesis 12, the nation of Israel starting in Exodus 6. Are they ‘them’ or ‘us’? For St Paul they are ‘us’ (see Galatians 3.29 for Abraham, Galatians 6.16 for Israel).
The New Testament passages we read were also strongly inclusive;
            - the one body with its varied, essential and mutually dependent members         
             in 1 Corinthians 12.4-31;
- the siblings (Galatians 1.2; 6.18; 3.27-8) in the family made up of Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, all equally members;
-          the saints (= all the believers, not just virtuoso performers) together with the bishops (overseers) and deacons at Philippi (Philippians 1.1-2)
 We did not read Acts 2.43-7 and Acts 4.32-37 where we see the early believers worshipping together, learning together, and sharing material things with great generosity;
-          .Peter’s powerful declaration of one race, one priesthood, one nation, one people, with the calling to declare God’s mighty acts, again stresses inclusive unity, in language that echoes the callings of Abraham and the people of Israel (1 Peter 2.4-10).
We also had some discussion about the use of ‘brothers’ – does it include the women as well as the men? The prevailing culture was patriarchal, the language masculine, but Philippians 4.1-2 suggests that Paul used the term to include women. His list of women helpers in Romans chapter 16 is impressive – especially as people often call him a woman-hater! The list includes a woman apostle, Junia (verse 7). Jesus’ own ministry was counter-cultural in his attitude to women. Mary of Bethany was behaving like a man and learning from Jesus in the men’s part of the house (Luke 10.39). Women travelled with him alongside the Twelve and funded the enterprise (Luke 8.1-3). And they were the first witnesses of the Resurrection – in a culture where their witness held no weight! So the inclusiveness of Galatians 3.27-8 is well supported in other parts of the New Testament. Does today’s church (that is, do we!) display an equally radical  inclusiveness of gender, race, class? Are we prepared to think biblically, radically about our society and culture?

May 26th, 2008

text © www.aomega.sk - TM
Fine Art Photos © Tibor Javor

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Miroslav Kocúr, ThDr., PhD., vyštudoval teológiu na Univerzite Komenského Bratislava. Postgraduálne štúdium biblickej exegézy absolvoval na Biblickom inštitúte v Ríme, Hebrejskej univerzite v Jeruzaleme a na Gregoriánskej univerzite v Ríme. Prednášal na Katolíckej univerzite v Ružomberku a TI v Spišskom Podhradí. Bol riaditeľom Katolíckeho biblického diela na Slovensku. Bol spoluzakladateľom a prvým riaditeľom Bilingválneho gymnázia C. S. Lewisa v Bratislave. Prednášal na BISLA v Bratislave.  V novembri 2011 bol menovaný za riaditeľa VIA IURIS.  

V januári 2014  začal spolupracovať s neziskovou organizáciou LEAF pri podporných a vzdelávacích programoch pre študentov a žiakov základných a stredných škôl. 
Je autorom prekladov, odborných publikácií, článkov, reflexií pre domáce i zahraničné inštitúcie.


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