Saturday, August 04, 2018

Dodd: the Divine Commonwealth

Saturday, August 4, 2018
    Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
    Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
    —1 Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)
    [Continued from yesterday]
    We have spoken throughout of the Divine Commonwealth. That phrase represents Paul’s “ecclesia of God.” It is a community of loving persons, who bear one another’s burdens, who seek to build up one another in love, who “have the same thoughts in relation to one another that they have in their communion with Christ.” It is all this because it is the living embodiment of Christ’s own Spirit. This is a high and mystical doctrine, but a doctrine which has no meaning apart from loving fellowship in real life. A company of people who celebrate a solemn sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and all the time are moved by selfish passions—rivalry, competition, mutual contempt—is not for Paul a Church or Divine Commonwealth at all, no matter how lofty their faith or how deep their mystical experience; for all these things may “puff up;” love alone “builds up.”
    In the very act, therefore, of attaining its liberty to exist, the Divine Commonwealth has transcended the great divisions of men. In principle, it has transcended them all, and by seriously living out that which its association means, it is on the way to comprehending the whole race. Short of that its development can never stop. This is the revealing of the sons of God for which the whole creation is waiting.
    ... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 144-145 (see the book)
    See also 1 Cor. 8:1; Rom. 8:22; 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:10; 11:33; Phil. 2:5
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, show me how to help with the building up of the church.
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