Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Lent 5: PATRW: Paul and Suffering

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

The God of all resurrection power, of peace that surpasses understanding, the giver of eternal joy, the provider of all endurance to complete the journey ahead of us – guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  

Sunday, we welcome David Boyd as our guest, leading our worship team and us in worship. Here are a couple of things about David, “I grew up in Boulder and met my wife, Lisa at a high school football game in 1971. We were married in 1975. I don’t follow football at all, but I guess I should be thankful for the game.  My earliest ministry experience was touring with a Christian band in the late 1970’s followed by becoming a worship pastor at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Denver, where I interned and was ordained. Lisa and I led the Vineyard in Longmont from 1987 to1992 and planted a church in Vienna, Austria and were there for 12 years, returning to Colorado in 2006. Our primary ministry focus is Blues Behind Bars, a music ministry to the incarcerated population in Colorado. Throughout all of the above worship has been the foundation of everything and what we consider to be the highest priority in our continuing walk with Jesus.  Welcome David!

Entering the suffering of others … the central call of Christ in our lives.

Last Sunday, we touched on the call of God to enter into the suffering of others… why would we do that?  Well, it just may be the central call of Christ in our lives.  It also may help us move forward in unlearning the consistent message of our recent history, ‘Don’t draw near’, to a more open posture of ‘drawing near again.’  And this is more than a simple understanding of physicality, to include emotionally, communally, spiritually.  Entering the suffering of others may be the key to our way back to experiencing vibrant community life.  Our world needs this kind of light, the light of Christ, to shine  

Last week’s message opened the door to the broader discussion of suffering.  As we return to Paul and the Roman World: the Gospel and Culture, we will look at Paul’s teachings on suffering.  How should we hold it?  Wield it?  Move through it?  Where does suffering fit in a Biblical Worldview and where does the ‘rubber hit the road’ in our everyday lives.  

A key to some of the answers is found in texts from 1 Corinthians and Philippians where Paul speaks about suffering in the light of Christ.  Douglass John Hall, in his book, God and Suffering: an Exercise in the Theology of the Cross says, ““The reality of human suffering is met by an even greater reality, Jesus: it is the conquest of suffering, by the God of suffering love.”  He also says, “The conquest of suffering begins when one’s self is befriended in one’s suffering.  This is a more believable answer to the pain of suffering and is also more profound.”  Much of our approach to suffering, our ability to enter into the suffering of others, is tied to our understanding of Christ being with us in suffering.  Let’s dive back into Paul.  It’s very interesting to see how Paul views suffering compared to how the culture of the day viewed suffering.