Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sun. July 1 (Veronica Dyck)

On Canada Day, Veronica Dyck's talk on Right Relationship in Ministry introduced us to 2 Corinthians, Paul's fourth formal letter in 18 months to the house church(es) in one of Asia Minor's main cities. This somewhat emotional letter was written in response to severe personal differences and challenges Paul was experiencing with key house church personalities, as well as questions relating to how a small community of faith might best operate and behave, regardless of peoples' social or economic status, all the while dwelling on the theme of how the in-breaking God helps communities of faith. Since the converts in Corinth came from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., no Jewish dietary concerns or laws), Paul did not dictate firm rules but rather offered a new approach to behavior and rules, indicating that Christians should evaluate-and reevaluate-their activities and lifestyles as their situations and surrounding society change, so that their actions not mislead or needlessly offend other believers. Immediately, Paul surprises the reader, indicating that he considered himself not the house churches' leader but rather their slave (unlike other leaders who were exerting power and asking for financial support). Just as Jesus consoles others in their suffering, believers are to console one another in their sufferings (including Paul in his past sufferings). Later in this letter Paul will champion the cause of the believing yet impoverished slaves who were experiencing second-class standing in the thinking and actions of believers who were landowners (much as Paul was being set aside as an apostolic leader by those same people). Veronica then led us through the initial 14 verses of chapter 1, verses which briefly tell of God's grace when rescuing Paul from earlier dangers, and hint at rebukes and challenges he faced from strong personalities in the house church. During discussion, we gave thanks that in spite of thousands of leaders and differences among millions of Christians around the world and in every cultural setting imaginable, the core of the gospel remains. [JEK - ed. AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday July 1st using your browser's preferred media player and read Veronica Dyck's sermon notes from 7/1/2007 [12 pages, 122KB PDF].



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