Text: 1 Cor 9:1-15
In the wake of Pope Benedict’s appeal to Anglicans, a reading on Apostolic authority comes up in the 2 yr reading cycle.
Paul was always defending his apostleship. People were always questioning his right to authority. His responses could be read as whining in the best Jewish mother sort of way. “If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you…” Can you not hear the guilt trip? But later Paul gets more onto the grounds of his apostleship. “We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ…I have made no us of these rights (to call for financial support), nor am I writing to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting.”
Who looks more like an authority – Pope Benedict or the Archbishop of Canturbury? Is the Pope giving up his claim to authority – his ground for boasting? But has he asked for anything from the Anglicans who could keep their married ministers, liturgy and even seminary houses? From a Pope who is well schooled in Paul, this is a very Pauline move…and a man very confident of his authority to do it as he trampled on his own Cardinals, moved the body (they call them congregations) that issued the order away from the ecumenical talkers to the doctine congregation and surprised AB Rowan Williams. From a leadership standpoint, it is inspiring…not that I’d swim the tiber.