Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Feb 15, 2015
Good in the Midst of Evil
1 Thessalonians 5: 15-18 (NRSV)
See that none of you repays evil for evil,
but always seek to do good to one another and to all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
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)
Rejoice, pray, and give thanks – that’s how Paul sums up his advice to the Christian community in the bustling metropolis of Thessalonica in the first century AD.
In the midst of social and economic division, urban crime, wars and rumours of war, diseases of the mind and the body, and wild speculations about the teachings of Christianity, Paul urges his friends in Jesus Christ to focus on three things:
- enjoying the grace they have received as a free gift from God;
- staying connected with and rooted in God in prayer; and
- being grateful for all the good that God in Christ through the Spirit is enabling them to do among themselves and in their community.
The evils of first century and twenty-first century life are very different in style and scope, but both are rooted in similar attitudes:
- giving the loyalty due to God alone to self, wealth, or power;
- being overwhelmed by anxiety, anger, and aggression; and
- dividing the world into them (the evil ones) and us (the good ones)
In the midst of this kind of evil, pastor Paul encourages faith in Jesus Christ, hope for God’s commonwealth, and love for God, neighbours, and self. This is a different way of being and seeing.
In that difference, we witness to and work for the energy of love, the inspiration of hope, and the guidance of faith.
What can you imagine doing this week to show that difference to the world?