Memorize & Ponder for Sunday Mar 8, 2015
1 Corinthians 1: 5-6 (Full Reading – 1 Cor 1: 1-9) (NRSV)
… for in every way you have been enriched in him,
In speech and knowledge of every kind –
just as the testimony of Christ
has been strengthened among you.
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)
As we turn to Paul’s Corinthian letters, we find him addressing the challenge of yet another urban congregation in the midst of a large, bustling, commercial centre.
The Christian community is small. It is dismissed by most, persecuted by some,and divided within itself.
Paul begins with words of encouragement. He is grateful to God for their faith. He is convinced that God has drawn them into the body of Christ, which is the church, to be effective witnesses to the coming of God’s commonwealth. Because of this, they have all the gifts they need to pursue their mission of blessing their city and the world beyond.
Being that blessing arises from gratitude for the grace they have been given. Living as examples of Christ’s love is not imposed, but enabled. It is not an obligation, but an opportunity.
What is most difficult for the Corinthians, and for us, is to recognize and accept the gift of grace they already have in Christ. Their consciousness has been shaped by the imposition of various kinds of obligations that they ‘have to’ do. They are burdened by the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ in their lives. For Paul, being in Christ, being part of the Christian community, is about what you ‘get to’ do. It’s being enabled to live in the blessing of God and share that blessing with everyone you encounter and in everything you do.
What difference would it make in the way to see and live in the world if you shifted your attention in making decisions from obligations to the law, from ‘have to,’ to gratitude for God’s grace, to ‘get to’?