Encounter: Read slowly through 1 Corinthians 1:18 -2:5. Using 2 different translations such as the NIV, The Voice or the NLT. Try using the audio function on You Version and listen to the passage as well. Write down or underline words or phrases that make an impression or stand out to you. Pray and ask Holy Spirit to give you understanding of what Paul is communicating about power.
“You are so wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?” “No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused.”
In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the wizard Gandalf is the embodiment of true wisdom, but his wisdom may appear foolish—as when he refuses to take the ring of power. Gandalf is powerful, yet his is a power found in weakness. Other characters reject Gandalf’s way, believing that the only way to truly defeat the enemy is by wielding the ring. But in the end they are unmasked as fools. Their eyes can see worldly power, but they are blind to the power of wisdom. As with Middle Earth, so with our world. Two ways of power are presented to us. Only one is the true path of wisdom.*
Jesus calls us to “recalibrate” our understanding of power so that as we live infused with the Holy Spirit we do not misuse it. To recalibrate means to change the way you do or think about something and we are to be the mouthpiece and carriers of God’s truth and as we live in the reality that Jesus is Lord (Rom. 10:9).
Labberton writes, “In worship we cast our lives upon the faithful and just power of God. When we do so, we oppose all acts of unjust power.”
The Apostle Paul is trying to help the Corinthian church understand how the cross has “recalibrated” power through what seems like weakness. Whether it was death on a cross or how we respond to God’s call by saying, “Who Me? Surely not me?” It is through the revelation of Jesus Christ lived through us that challenges the injustice of hunger, racism, sex-trafficking, abuse or even the more mundane: gossip, manipulation, libel, or deception
One of the major ways this recalibration takes place is through our practices of worship that will put us in the force field of God’s power to transform our lives. Why is it essential to gather on Sundays together? Because worship shapes us through liturgy, prayers of confession and adoration, forgiveness, music, communion, God’s Word preached and offerings freely given.
Why is it important to belong to a Life Group to grow and pray? Because worship in community transforms us and launches us into our purpose.
Why do we BLESS? Because worship helps us remember the greatest power we have is self-offering love as we serve, especially towards those who may see us as enemies. We reenact the Good News so when we go back to work or school on Monday, we do so seeing everything around us through the lens of God purposing to do what is needed through jars of clay.
Like the ring offered to Gandalf, two ways of power are presented to us. True worship asks us, which one will we take?
Recalibrating with you,
Reflect: How could our practices of worship help us as followers of Jesus to see power realigned in our lives?
Encourage: Which one of the worship practices help to “recalibrate” your understanding of God’s power in weakness and with a focus of Jesus as Lord?
Gather: Does your experience of corporate worship, whatever the liturgy, help you have a more biblically responsible grasp of issues of power in your life and the world. Discuss this in your Life Group or Sunday Study Group.