Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Mar 22, 2015
Christ, Compassion, and Conflict
1 Corinthians 4: 5 (Full Reading – 1 Cor 4: 1-13) (NRSV)
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time,
before the Lord comes,
who will bring to light the things
now hidden in darkness
and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Then each one will receive
commendation from God.
Being the Church in Christ: Wisdom from Pastor Paul
(The Brentwood Sermon Series for 2015)
Throughout 2015, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church will be considering how to be the church in Jesus Christ, guided by the wisdom of Pastor Paul. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment on our website – www.brentwoodpc.ca.
A Provocative Pondering
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)
Paul and most of his contemporaries in the early church expected Jesus to return soon. The old theological term for this is “apocalyptic” thinking. In modern usage, this word points to terrifying events and consequences, involving disaster, destruction, and damnation. There is a whole genre of writing that has taken the name of ‘apocalyptic literature’ that often gets translated into TV shows, movies, and video games.
The original meaning of the Greek word has none of this negativity attached to it. It simply means to ‘uncover’ or to ‘reveal.’ So, in the end, all that God intends will be known.
Now, there are Biblical voices that lean heavily in the direction of disaster and damnation. But they are not the only voices about God’s completion of his plan, or even the dominant ones.
What will come fully to light at the end of earthly time is God’s compassion – what Paul talks about when he continually refers to faith, hope, and love. That’s the God that is revealed in the mind of Christ. That the God in whom we live, and move, and have our being when we walk with and dwell in Christ Jesus.
So, conflict is not solved by damning and destroying the one who disagrees with us. It is resolved by discerning the mind of Christ, the will of God, the most compassionate path forward together.
In the midst of the bitter conflicts that plagued the early church, that is always Paul’s advice. Have in you the mind of Christ and walk in his way of justice and peace.
What might that path of compassion, justice, and peace look like in your particular situations – at home, in the community, at work?