QT Thot: E Pluribus Unum (reposted)

Wednesday, October 16. 2013
1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (NRSV)

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

This text is about the universal church.  It is made up of all the Saints, past and present, alive on earth (the Church Militant), as well as those who are in Heaven (the Church Triumphant)- the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Paul's major point in this passage is not Baptism, spiritual or sacramental.  It is Unity- the emphasis is on the word "ONE".  Just as Monday's Text taught us we are One Body because we partake of One Loaf, so this Text teaches us that we are One Body because we all, each of us, share one Spirit and one Baptism.

E Pluribus Unum, Latin for "Out of many, one".  This is a fundamental New Testament Principle.

14 ... the body does not consist of one member but of many. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body.

And as the human body has many parts, so does the Church Body.  Every individual Christian is a part, an organ, of the Body of Christ.  In theory, we all belong to Christ, to the Body and therefore to each other.  The concept of seeking the common good, the well-being of the entire Body, is Scriptural.

25 [Let] there be no dissension within the body, [let] the members have care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

Also see 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good;  14:13 he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation and Phil 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

We are divided because we do not really share in a common Christ and the Spirit of Christ.  If we did, we would have unity!  How can this be?  We all claim that we have the Spirit of Christ.   [Answer: It is because we do not understand and use  the Bible in a common way. That is another Topic for another day.]

E Pluribus Unum- The Principle also applies to America.  This Motto is  engraved on the Great Seal of the United States and appears on its official documents, including those issued by the President, Congress and the Supreme Court.  And it appears on our money! and yet, like the Church, we too, are divided.
What is there about human nature that makes us pursue self-interest over the Common Good no matter what.  Maybe it is because we have forgotten the other part of the Principle, inscribed in our "Pledge of Allegiance".  We are "One Nation--- under God"!  We do not seek the Common Good because we do not seek a Common God.

At the 18th Century Founding, we shared a common world view and common values- not necessarily orthodox Christianity, but predominantly Protestant well into the 19th Century.  It included a common commitment to God the Creator and to Universal Moral Principles, no matter how imperfectly we lived by them.  Today, for America, the Common Core of Common Faith and Common Beliefs and Common Moral Values has eroded more than ever and with it the pursuit of the Common Good.  We are now paying the price for our devotion to Religious Pluralism, Multiculturalism and the Idol of Diversity, not only the god Jesus warned about: Mammon.  Our widespread Motto today is "every person for themselves" or, at least, "every group for itself".  Where is the Faith of our Fathers?  Our Founding?

A divided Church, a divided Nation.  There is a deep connection between the two!