Monday, February 7, 2011

Looking Forward to February 13, 2011 -- 6th Sunday After Epiphany

This week we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion.
We will also be joined by the members of Northern Lights Presbytery who will be meeting at St. Paul's on Friday and Saturday.

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

The Sermon title is Choose God, Choose Life!

Early Thoughts: Do our choices matter? You bet they do!  And so we are called/urged/commanded to choose life, and that in abundance.

Chapter 30 of Deuteronomy contains one of my favourite passages in all of Scripture.  The book of Deuteronomy is written as Moses' farewell discourse to the people of Israel, ending with his death.  Here Moses tells the people that they have a choice.  Choose wisely and they will be blessed, chooses foolishly and they will be cursed.  Life vs. death, blessing vs curse, abundance vs. scarcity.  Choices matter.  Choices matter not just for the present but for the future, not just for us but for our children.

And then we have Corinth.  Poor, divided, conflicted Corinth.  Paul seems to have had a challenge with this church.  At the very least they have divided loyalties.  But Paul tells them that they have made the wrong choice.  They have chosen the man who taught them instead of the One they were taught about.

So how shall we choose?  When we have options, can we see which way lies the path of blessing and which way lies the path of curse?  It sounds easy to say, but how easy is it to make that choice?  This essay speaks to that (here are the opening paragraphs):
"Choose life!"
           Just two little words from Deuteronomy 30:19. They sound so simple. The Deuteronomist even says that the choice between life and death, blessing and curses, is "not too difficult for you or beyond your reach" (30:11). The apostle Paul makes a similar appeal to wealthy Christians: "Take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19). And then there's Jesus, who says, "I've come that you might have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
           These words sound simple, but our human experience proves otherwise. After all, we're only "poor creatures, now a wonder / a wonder tortur'd in the space / betwixt this world and that of grace" (Herbert). In the most mysterious book of the Bible, Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth describes his search for true life. He pursued all the obvious pathways — intellectual study, work, every imaginable pleasure, civic projects, and even righteousness itself. In the end, it all felt like chasing after the wind, a meaningless "futility of futilities."
 Talk to you on Sunday --if you choose to attend that is ;)


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