Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Feb 01, 2015
Respect in the Midst of Abuse
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (NRSV)
For we know, brothers and sisters beloved of God,
that he has chosen you,
because our message of the gospel
came to you not in word only,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit
and with full conviction;
just as you know what kind of persons
we proved to be among you for your sake
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)
When was the last time you experienced disrespect in your daily round of life? Not long ago, I suspect. You might have been ignored, dismissed, rejected, verbally abused, or physically abused. It happens far too often. Too few stand up to resist it. But Christians should.
The community of new Christians Paul was writing to in this morning’s letter lived in Thessalonica, a major port on the Thermic Bay on the northwest edge of the Aegean Sea, and on the Via Egnatia, the major Roman road across the Balkan peninsula, ending at Philippi to the east. In Paul’s time, some 200,000 people lived in this thriving center of culture and trade.
Paul’s greeting in the letter reminds his readers of the respect God has shown them by choosing them to be his partners in saving the world. They are the beloved of God. That is the source of their dignity and worth. And of ours.
Paul has tried to model for them what it means for a human being to acknowledge and accept this respect shown by his or her Creator and God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, humanity receives the wisdom and courage to witness to and work for the gospel, the good news that God in Jesus Christ has saved this world and has invited everyone to participate in blessing it with their varied gifts. That work of blessing is what we nourish here at Brentwood and what we carry into the world every week.
We are the agents of God’s respect in a world filled with disrespect and abuse. That is a crucial part of our mission in our day and age.
What ways can you imagine showing respect to those you will meet this coming week? Know that as you do this, God will be with you and working through you to save the world.