This week’s New Testament reading [1CORINTHIANS 6: 13 – 15. 17 – 26] provides (as we start off on the ‘ordinary’ Sundays) a rather good focus for building our day-to-day lives of discipleship.

Important to a richer understanding of this extract there is a need to remember that (i) Paul is not simply speaking about sins of impurity — at that time in Corinth fornication implied the encounter with prostitutes. The rich understanding of Christian marriage and the respect of females had not yet taken roots, and it was common practice for husbands to seek encounters outside the home in which wives were seen as little more than housekeepers and the bearers of heirs.

Then, (ii) Corinth had a long pre-Christian tradition as a city of ‘free thinkers’, and there existed a wide variety of different views on countless subjects of debate and interest. It was, therefore, a major challenge for the new Christians to recognise that acceptance of the Gospel called them to one, single view of a particular approach to life and living. However, (iii) this approach was not confined to intellectual agreement and acceptance of a new ‘philosophy’, but directed to a specific manner of living – in every area, not only the mind. The body must be included. So, “you are not your own property (and) … you should use your body for the glory of God.” The whole PERSON was involved.

Finally, (iv) it is imperative to notice that right in the middle of the extract Paul inserts the pivotal proclamation: “You know, surely, that your bodies are members making up the body of Christ: anyone who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” It is not merely our physical bodies which are involved. As Jesus himself once asked and proclaimed: “Surely life is more than food, the body more than clothes?”(Matthew 6: 25b)

Our membership of the Church is membership in the body of Christ – a membership which involves OUR WHOLE PERSONS, not only our minds but our hearts as well. All of us, with A COMMON PURPOSE made visible in a unity of faith, worship, and manner of life. Today’s PSALM [39 or 40] speaks of “the great assembly which has “a new song in (the) mouth.” In addition, the Psalm speaks of the presentation of the whole person in the words “here am I.” The Body of Christ, the Church, takes a “delight in (his) law” – the whole law of the Gospel. Unlike the Corinthians we should not feel free to pick and choose.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ must develop within us. Eventually it should take over the whole of us. Somehow or other, this is given a very clear expression in OUR GOSPEL EXTRACT [JOHN 1: 35 – 42]. Notice how the Lord ‘takes over’ Peter right from the very beginning …. he pronounces a new name: “You are to be called Cephas.” In the biblical tradition the giving of a name clearly indicated that the one who gave the name had power and authority over the one who was ‘called’. In the context of what has been said aboutthe Corinthians we should remember that it was in Corinth that members of the early Church were called ‘Christians’. No longer were they followers of the Way. On a personal level (NOT a scriptural truth!) I have often wondered why this happened in Corinth?! Was it that followers of the Way was too close to a particular philosophy, and if the new disciples were to be weaned away from rampant ‘intellectualism’, they had to be CALLED something else?

Do we not have, at regular intervals, to remind ourselves that “from birth the Lord called me, he named me from my mother’s womb?”{ISAIAH 49: 1}(as a total ‘aside’, parents should be careful about the names given to their children some of whom are inflicted with permanent crosses to be carried all their lives!)

Notice how the OLD TESTAMENT EXTRACT [1 SAMUEL 3: 3 – 10.19] records the CALL BY NAME of Samuel.

Interesting, also, is the fact that the Gospel extract records the Baptist providing Jesus with ‘another’ name (LAMB OF GOD) as he points the Lord out to some of his disciples. It is because of the name that the disciples followed.

Perhaps it is better to be called ‘Christians’? But never forget that Christians are called and named in order to follow THE way!