Kaiser Wilhelm I was one impressive individual. He managed to unite the German people without alienating the Hapsburgs: the French , of course, were another matter. He preserved the Lutheran and Reformed faith, allowing both (and the Romans) to flourish. His great cathedral in Berlin has many sculptures, including the ones on the roof, such as Moses holding the law. His son did not have the wisdom, nor the advice: Bismark had died, and legend was that Bismark prayed an hour a day.
The old testament reading for today — they are linked — indicates that after Josiah died, his sons embraced paganism and drove Judah to vassal status. But today I want to concentrate on another passage. The body of Christ is one, and if the person who makes the tea, puts out the chairs, or cleans the toilets is not honoured, God is not honoured. We all are needed, and much of the most worthy work occurs privately.
It is not spectacular. It is a daily grind. It may be that the wish for excitement and the kind of high one can get at a rock concert led to the kings of Judah stepping away from the more sober but more real teachings of Moses. I know this: as they stepped away so have our leaders, and in this time it is important that all Christians support each other.
Including the weak and most frail
12For 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. 13For 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.
14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
This passage is a correction to the envy that is so inherent in the Church and outside. We tend to put people into boxes, and woe betide them if they step out of this. There is an intersectional infernal order of privilege where the more oppression points you have the more you can get away with . There is an expectation that the oppressed will take part in all decision making.
In my field, the consumer movement — that is patients– are using the UN to argue that there can be no decisions without their consent. The problem is that the activists who make such decisions are a subset of the disabled, and frequently self appointed. The problem with this is that Paul did not put us into boxes, but functions.
He said we are all necessary. That the structure came from God, and we all have our part in it.
By saying this, he implied that envying the role of another is a sin. One that is celebrated in modern society, and called self esteem: but the consequences of this are that we have a number of people promoted to places they should not be so we can appear diverse, and virtuous, meeting accepted best practice in Human Resources.
I don’t think God cares about equity, and less about human resources.
It is far better to do the tasks you have. For most of us, that is leading or caring for a family. That is sufficient concern and trouble: those who lead have greater difficulties and greater accountability. Let us pray that God has mercy on the poor bastards.