Memorize & Ponder for Sunday July 27, 2014
More than a Sage – the Saviour
1 Corinthians 1:21-24 (NRSV)
For since, in the wisdom of God,
the world did not know through wisdom,
God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation,
to save those who believe.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Throughout 2014, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church is getting to know Jesus, the Christ, in a refreshing and transformative way. 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 here.
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 faced a tough challenge in writing to the Corinthian church.
How do you make sense of what God did for the world in Jesus, the Christ, in the midst of a confusing, competing marketplace of religious and philosophical claims and demands. Judaism was the greatest religious challenge for the newly-emerging Christianity, and Stoicism the greatest philosophical challenge. It saw logos or universal reason as God, a fiery energy that was infused/inhabited every human being and connected every human being. They believed that everything was ruled by Fate and the best humans could do was adopt an accepting attitude to what happened, maintaining an internal determination not to suffer, no matter what was happening externally.
Our passage this morning summarizes a key part of Paul’s approach to this challenge.
First and foremost, we have to let God be God. It is God who is deciding and acting. Our role is not to question or criticize, but to understand and align ourselves with God’s mission. That may involve questioning and criticizing what others have understood, but not what God was/is doing. We are being drawn by our faith into the power and wisdom of God, so we can be blessings in the world.
We are being saved from an impersonal Fate that determines everything and being saved to a relationship with a loving God who desires the well-being of all His creatures. It’s the personal relationship with God that is key here, drawing us into His community of creation as valuable contributors.
Join us in our study groups and worship services to ponder together what the Spirit is teaching us through this text.