Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Mar 1, 2015
The Answer to Evil
2 Thessalonians 3: 5 (NRSV)
May the Lord direct your hearts
to the love of God
and to the steadfastness of Christ.
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 the midst of “evil”, Paul prays that the Lord will shift his readers’ attention to God’s steadfast love. That is his answer to evil. Shift your attention from what is bad to what is good, from what divides to what unites, from what harms to what benefits, from curse to blessing.
We know that our energy flows where our attention is focused. So, Paul’s advice is pretty powerful. Spend your time focusing on what’s wrong and your energy will be drawn towards negative alternatives – dismissal, division, or destruction. Spend your time focusing on God’s steadfast love, what’s right, and your energy will be drawn towards positive alternatives – acceptance, community, and the building up of the commonwealth of God.
The meanings attached to the words Paul uses for “evil” include sorrowful, making trouble, lacking, and harmful. The evil ones are those who oppose believers and their lives of faith, hope and love.
In the death of Jesus, God has endured in the flesh the worst evil humanity can devise and conquered it in the resurrection and ascension. Evil has been defeated by faith, hope, and love. That is Paul’s mantra throughout his writings. There is a reality more powerful than evil that is worthy of your attention, a love that casts out fear.
What difference would it make to your life to shift your attention, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the support of the Christian community, from evil to God’s steadfast love? How would that transform the way you see the world and act in it?