Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Jun 7- Jun 14, 2015
The Positive Alternative
Galatians 5: 22-23 (Full Reading – Galatians 5: 16-26) (NRSV)
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
There is no law against such things.
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)
“In contrast, …” That’s how Paul starts our text this morning.
“On the one hand, …, but on the other, …” This stuff about being the church, being the Body of Christ in the world, being the beloved children of God, makes us different. There is this way of doing things, then there is ours.
What goes before the contrast, in the longer passage for this week, are all things that exploit and defile the goodness that God intended for the world and its inhabitants, including humans. That’s the key point here. In the world around, whether it be the world of the Roman Empire or the world of the 21st century, political, economic, and social systems and the people who devise and perpetuate them exploit and defile the dignity and worth of God’s creation.
The church was created and is continually called to witness and work for a positive alternative to this way of living together on this planet. It is the way of justice, peace, and joy. Simple, eh? Well, not so much.
But we can, with God’s amazing grace, make a beginning, like a mustard seed planted in fertile, nourishing ground. We can live that positive alternative in and through our own lives and in and through this community that nourishes us to flourish. We can live as a protest against all that denies God’s rights to the health and well-being of his creation.
Perhaps that’s what it means today to be ‘Protestants’ – protesting by the way we live the positive alternative provided by the work of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.