There was a verse in one of Sunday’s readings that struck me very forcibly as I read it.
The Epistle for Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary, the sequence of Bible readings used by most Christians around the world, was very short, just three verses, Paul’s First Letter Corinthians Chapter 7 Verses 29 to 31
The first of those verses says, “What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none”. I thought about that verse, there are plenty of men who behave as though they weren’t married, but not in the sense that Paul is thinking. He believes that the end of the world is nigh and that, in such an extreme situation, celibacy should be the option for Christians
I wonder sometimes about what we teach in church about the life of the world to come, all the stuff we say about the joyful reunion in heaven. There was more than one widow I met who expressed profound and sincere relief at the demise of their erstwhile partner.
Are we saying that having got rid of the old man that they have to face the prospect of an eternity with him? And, if not, why do we teach this stuff?
On the other hand, I was always troubled by Jesus’ response to the Sadducees when he said there would be no marriage in heaven. What about the majority of married people who grieve greatly at the loss of their partner? Or, even more complicatedly, what about people who married the wrong person, do they not get a second chance to be married to the right one?
The questions and the permutations are endless and there seems unlikely there will be an answer on this side of the pearly gates.
Perhaps Paul’s suggestion on Sunday morning was a suggestion that even the great apostle wasn’t 100% sure of what lay ahead – maybe he’s married now!