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Showing posts from February, 2011

God’s architecture

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Epiphany 7A
February 20, 2011
1 Corinthians 3:10-23

This passage is full of things we hear repeatedly in the apostle Paul’s letters.

1. The believer as God’s temple (3:16-17)
2. The contrast between God’s and the world’s wisdom (3:18-20)
3. The illegitimacy of human boasting (3:21)
4. The conflict around different leaders in the assembly (3:21-23)
5. The architectural metaphor – “the Church’s one foundation” (3:10-15)

Now any of these subjects will preach, and each is undoubtedly an important theme in Paul’s proclamation and mission.

Yet the passage also contains an idea which is central for Paul’s apostleship, to his understanding of his role, and to his understanding of the assembly of believers. It is the “foundation” which underlies Paul’s use of the architectural metaphor.

Hierarchy justifiably gets a bad rap. But sometimes there’s no way around the fact that there is a certain order to the way things work. You cannot put the roof on if you have not yet raised the walls – or at lea…

Prayer for civic change

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God of power and God of peace, your will for us has always been release from bondage, freedom, and lives of righteousness. Support the desire for liberation and strengthen your people in truth, compassion, and the practice of non-violence. Keep watch over all the nations of this world, especially Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Egypt, that movements for civic change may also change hearts and minds. Restrain any tempted by violence, and lead your people into the realization of just hope. We ask this trusting in the name of Jesus our liberator. Amen.

Opposition supporters wave roses during an anti-government protest in Sanaa, Yemen. Photograph by Khaled Abdullah/Reuters.&nbsp

You are not ready

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Epiphany 6A
February 13, 2011
1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Hard words to hear.

Maybe we’ve heard them from someone denying us an opportunity – “You’re not ready for this job, come back when you’ve got more experience.” Maybe it’s meant as a slam – “You’re just a kid!”

Sometimes I wonder about the Apostle Paul. It sounds like he’s right in his assessment of the folks back in Corinth. They don’t sound spiritually mature. And that may be understandable, given the newness of Christ’s revelation, the world-confounding nature of the cross, and the confusing pictures of faith being presented to them from many different sources: Rome, Jerusalem, Paul, Apollos, Cephas...

But for someone who wants to be seen as their “father in faith” (1 Cor 4:14-16), calling them babies might not be the best approach. “You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk” (3:1b-2, CEV). While logically consistent, it is emotionally charged. This kind of a…

The Spirit searches everything

Epiphany 5A
February 6, 2011
1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Paul spends so much time making complicated arguments, we may forget that at heart he is a mystic, who lives important parts of his life outside the domain of reason. In his letters to the Corinthian assembly, though, we get many indications of a charismatic, Spirit-possessed Paul.
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