Let's face it. Sex is a huge issue. A wrong decision about sex can change your life, even take your life. I must admit that when I read the passage about which I was assigned to write, I was a little overwhelmed.
But, I must remember. I'm not writing about sex. I'm writing about what Paul wrote about sex. In that context, I am taken by the fact that Paul deals with sex in several of his letters, not just today's reading. It was obviously a big issue back then, perhaps as big an issue as it is now.
In today's reading, Paul says it loud and clear: Sex is for marriage. Period. It is necessary for marriage for several reasons: it provides an intimacy that a married couple cannot find elsewhere (i.e., "the wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband...In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife."), it removes the issue of immorality (this assumes faithful relations between husband and wife, i.e., "each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband..."), and, being married is a gift from God.
I am thinking that being a young church in the decades just after Christ's death may be similar to our young people learning about morality and ethics today. In those times, as is today, society is rife with everything that is wrong and unholy. I'm not trying to sound "high and mighty" here, and many of today's issues are so woven into our fabric that it is hard to tell that they are problems anymore. But let's face it: It's hard to be a Christian today. Well, it was evidently hard back then, too - particularly when it came to sex.
So, our generation (whether the hippies of the 60's, or the Gen x'ers of the 80's, or any other group from today) did not invent the sex problems. But what is so astonishing is that the answer to the sex issues hasn't changed: Sex is for marriage.
I'm frankly not sure if any generation has really gotten this one right. Let's continue to pray for ourselves and our youth that all of us will listen to Paul and truly understand that the only true place, the only holy place for sex is in marriage.