Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daily Lenten Post, Day 37

One of the lectionary readings for this Sunday is 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, and my morning devotional suggested reading that today. I'm going to paste the whole passage below and then write some thoughts on it.

The resurrection

15 Brothers and sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. You are being saved through it if you hold on to the message I preached to you, unless somehow you believed it for nothing. I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time. I’m the least important of the apostles. I don’t deserve to be called an apostle, because I harassed God’s church. 10 I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing. In fact, I have worked harder than all the others—that is, it wasn’t me but the grace of God that is with me. 11 So then, whether you heard the message from me or them, this is what we preach and this is what you have believed.

Do you ever feel like you have believed for nothing? Do you get caught up in the debates and the fighting about whose belief is "right"? It's so tempting to do so. It's so tempting to use faith as a weapon because it feels better to be "right" than to be just about anything else. For all of Paul's work, for all the teaching that he did to bring people to Christ, what mattered most was only this gospel--this good news--"in which you stand": that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.

That's the message Paul wanted the Corinthians to know. and he didn't care if they heard it from him or from someone else. That's the good news they were supposed to be living into and sharing with others, not debating about which teacher was the "right" teacher, or which spiritual gift is the "best" one, or any of that mess. It may be comforting to us that the people of the early church had just as many arguments as we do, but that doesn't mean we're supposed to continue to dwell in them and forget about the good news we have received and that we are supposed to be living, too.

Easter is almost here. Let's learn to stand in the good news, so as to proclaim it and be a church that believes it and isn't caught up in our own mess any more. I don't exactly know what that would take, but I have hope for resurrection, so I know it's possible!

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