Archive for February 2014

Reflections on today’s service: preaching, salt and light.   Leave a comment

Today was an ordinary service (mass) at my church, but several things stood out for me and captured my thoughts.  I briefly note them here.

I am not St. Paul’s biggest fan.  It is not his fault but I regret in some parts of the church it seems that his teachings dominate over Jesus’.  However, today’s reading from 1 Corinthians caught my attention afresh and I quote it here in full:

1 Corinthians 2:1-12

New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

God’s wisdom revealed by the Spirit

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.9 However, as it is written:

‘What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’[b] –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:1 Some manuscripts proclaimed to you God’s mystery
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:9 Isaiah 64:4

The sermon, based on this and the other readings set for today, was about preaching.  The Gospel reading was part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5:13-20].  It begins with Jesus’ call for us to be salt and light in the world.

I have not had any formal role in the church for about 10 years now.  Sometimes this causes me to question: What is the purpose of my faith journey? What am I supposed to be doing in the church?  However, these passages, and the service more generally, reminded me that it is my whole life that is the purpose of my faith journey.  It is in how I live my life I am called to be salt and light. That that is a form of preaching, a role, and one that is an enormous  challenge.  I continually fail to live up to that challenge which God continually forgives.  However, that is my purpose, to be salt and light.  If God uses that to influence anyone, to preach as it were, that is His/Her business.

I felt blessed and encouraged by this morning’s service.  (Oh and I got to meet the new archdeacon who will live in the parish.)

Posted February 9, 2014 by Martyn Cooper in Random notes

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Pause in Journey through Christian Thought   1 comment

Sorry there has a long pause in my blog series “A journey through Christian thought”.  I experienced a protract period of depression throughout much of last year (I am bi-polar).  That journey was not something I even found possible to do in that mood and thought patterns.  It would probably not have been the most helpful thing at the time if I tried.

Image

Photo credit: http://alwaysbobswife.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/nurture-photography-greenjourney/

I am much better now but have decided not to resume the series just yet.  This is because I want to participate in and blog about a Lent course being offered by my church: “Build on the Rock – Faith, doubt and Jesus”.  This looks like it will ring with the themes I was visiting on the “Journey in Christian Thought” as the early Christian writers wrestled with the question: “Who was Jesus?”

A thought on: “Who was Jesus?”

Attending Parish Mass at my church last Sunday, for the first time for quite a while, we sung a hymn I didn’t know:

In the second verse there is a statement about Jesus that stood out for me.  In all my own wrestling with who Jesus was, over the decades and on going, it was a statement I could happily rest with and own for myself:

Jesus, … , who trod faith’s road before us and trod it to the end.