Paul’s Pride (Jul 5 – Jul 12)
Romans 1:16-17 (Full Reading – Romans 1:16-17) (NRSV)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel;
it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who has faith,
to the Jews first and also the Greeks.
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)
Rome was the ‘big city’ of the empire. There were lots of important regional centres sustained by trade, government, and military activities, but ‘all roads’ led to Rome in Paul’s day. Power and wealth were concentrated there and controlled from there.
Being church in such an urban centre was not easy in the Pauline period. The churches were not big. They did not attract people of great power and wealth. At various times and in various places, they were bothered and hassled by the authorities. Small, unpopular, and persecuted – that was the lot of the early churches.
But they survived, spread, and even flourished. Why? I think the reason is the source of Paul pride – the Gospel.
Even though things began small, and have returned to small in our own urban environment, these communities of people were resilient and redemptive. They discovered a flourishing life of worship, learning, fellowship and service in their relationship with the God of the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Within them, the God of the Gospel transformed people to be agents of his justice, peace, and beauty. Christians found an amazing strength to see things differently, then go into the world to be that change for those around them.
What enabled them to do this was the work of the Holy Spirit in their midst – this active presence and power of God coursing through and transforming every aspect of their existence, calling them to the courage to build the commonwealth of God in every act of respect, kindness, and generosity they could imagine.
That same power courses through us here at Brentwood. Let us welcome it and respond with grateful service to its reality.