Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Into the Thick of It
1 Corinthians 13:13 (Full Reading – 1 Cor 13: 1-13) (NRSV)
And now faith, hope, and love abide,
but the greatest of these is love.
(I Corinthians 13:13)
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)
What happens when the mind of Christ confronts the principalities and powers?
That’s the core question of Palm Sunday.
In Luke’s gospel, the dramatic turning point comes in chapter 9, verse 51:
When the days drew near for him to be taken up,
he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Jesus was determined to confront the worst of the abuses of authority in his day where they were strongest – in Jerusalem. He went into this confrontation ‘armed’ with the love of God, the love of others, and the love of himself. Those principalities and powers did their worst (or best in their minds) – they crucified him. That was meant to get rid of the threat he posed to their power. They used their power, their version of power, to eliminate his.
But they failed. God’s power, incarnate in Jesus Christ, went into the thick web of their power, endured the worst violence it could inflict, and triumphed. As Paul said to the Corinthians, the greatest power in the world is God’s love, incarnate and known to us in Jesus, the Christ. That conviction lay at the heart of Paul’s gospel.
This is a power that has already, is currently, and will in the future triumph over the darkness of death, whatever form it may take in our day and age. To refuse to succumb to the lure of dealing death for death, of seeking revenge for every wrong done, to meet anger and aggression with appreciation and acceptance – that is the way of love, the way of Jesus, the way we are privileged to follow as Christians. It takes the courage offered by God’s love. But it is possible in every dimension of our lives.