Memorize & Ponder for Sunday April 5-12, 2015
Responding with Gratitude for Easter
1 Corinthians 15: 58 (Full Reading – 1 Cor 15: 50-58) (NRSV)
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast,
immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord,
because you know that in the Lord
your labor is not in vain.
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)
Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthians with a reminder of what God did for the world on that first Easter. He saved it through the actions he took in Jesus, the Palestinian tradesman in whom God took flesh, dwelt among us, and restored creation as a community of blessing. It is that salvation of creation that happened that first Easter.
The process of salvation is still underway, not yet completed, but the love that created us has triumphed decisively over the death that destroys the community of God’s beloved children.
This ‘amazing grace’ for all of creation awes us into gratitude. That’s the response it invites. That’s the quality of life that will assist God in bringing his project of salvation to final completion.
To live with God in this new reality is to find the strength of friendship with God as the source of an eternal, spiritual life. The world as it exists is not the final goal, but it is the place where God has sent us to excel in the work of the Lord. The spiritual energy of love sustains us in our labour for God’s commonwealth.
Paul faced challenges that would discourage the best of us – a dark past; zealotry for his cause; suspicion of and resistance to his interpretation of what God has done in Jesus Christ from the Lord’s original disciples; scorn and ridicule from the respectable classes in the cities he visited; confusion and conflict in the communities he founded; arrest, abuse, and execution by the Roman imperial authorities.
Through it all, he found in his relationship with the Lord who rose on Easter morning a source of gratitude that kept him faithful and flourishing in the grace of Jesus Christ.