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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, February 6, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading | 1 Corinthians 2:1–12

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. (NRSV)

We live in an increasingly “noisy” world. As an urban church living in a digital age, the number of notifications, alarms, sirens, distractions, messages, advertisements, and conversations vying for our collective attention seems to increase constantly. Being inundated with so much noise can quickly lead to feelings of oversaturation, and instead of catching the key signals we actually want to absorb, it may be alluring to block it all out just to cope.

Paul’s world in the first century had its own abundance of noise, and it seems the fledgling church in Corinth could relate based on the content of this letter. The apostle observed confusion and clutter in the noisy, worldly spirits around him. He speculates that a subsequent lack of understanding was one of the reasons those around Jesus allowed him to be executed by the occupying government.

The solution to the convoluted noise that Paul implemented was to narrow his focus and priorities. In times of distress and conflict, the passionate convert turned his attention solely to Christ as revealed by the Spirit. Paul recognized the limitations of his wisdom and strength and relied on the Spirit of God to fill in the gaps. This didn’t lead to a magic removal of Paul’s suffering but rather helped clarify what matters and which voices in the noisy tumult were worth listening to.

Paul’s writing to the Corinthians demonstrates his yearning for his siblings in Christ to find similar clarity and move forward accordingly. Thousands of years later, new generations of Jesus-followers can still find relevant direction here. Through the Spirit, Jesus offers truth that cuts through the noise of the world to lead to abundant life. It’s up to us to maintain the kind of focus to recognize it.

Resurrected Christ, thank you for your grace when we lose focus. Give us fresh wisdom and discernment to find truth in our noisy world. We long for what is true and good and look to you for guidance. Amen.

Written by Michael Mirza, Director of Worship

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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