Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Feb 08, 2015
Practicing Faith, Hope, and Love in the Midst of Depression
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NRSV)
But since we belong to the day,
let us be sober,
and put on the breastplate of faith and love,
and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
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)
If you are looking for three words that capture the essence of Paul’s gospel, Paul’s proclamation that Jesus is Lord, the One in whom God rules the world with hospitality, justice, and peace, then ‘faith, hope and love’ are those three words. These three are the greatest gifts that God gives in Christ to equip Jesus’ followers to work with him to save the world.
It is not an accident that the most widely read section of Paul’s letters, the Corinthians passage on love, concludes with these words:
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
There is something in our most common human consciousness, those human instincts that are encoded from generations before into our DNA, that responds positively to promise of faith, hope, and love. We have been created and formed to live in and for these qualities of nourishing human relationships.
That’s what Paul was reminding the Christian community in Thessalonica. There was a lot in their lives in that bustling metropolis that might depress them – things happening within them, to them, around them – things that drained them of their faith, hope, and courage to love.
Paul reminded them of the grace that enveloped their life when Christ encountered them, when they awoke to the reality that God was with them, no matter what. We can use that same reminder today in our lives. How will your attitudes and behaviours change with the renewal of this realization that faith, hope, and love surround you? What consequences will that have for the world?