February 15, 2004

J. Evan Kreider - “No Middle Ground”

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Evan Kreider spoke on a diverse and unusual selection of texts from the lectionary in which he found a single shared meaning. Using contrasting metaphors, the four passages led him (and us) inexorably to the theme “No Middle Ground”. Jeremiah 17, as a wisdom poem in three parts, contrasted in the first part, a metaphor for the wicked; in the second, a metaphor for the blessed; and in the conclusion, says “the heart is devious above all else” - we don’t like opposites and will do anything, including fool ourselves to compromise on middle ground. But in the last lines of the poem, the Lord will foil us, convict us. Psalm 1, in a similar structure, opens with blessings on those who do not do as the Lord forbids (“sitteth in the seat of the scornful” - KJV); but contrasts the doings of the righteous with those of the unrighteous. Here Evan points out that no single event in one’s life is the key for God’s judgement of one’s life lived righteously; but rather the daily struggle to make appropriate choices - white, not black - that lead to the Lord’s favour as you choose what you choose. Luke 6 (the Sermon on the Plain) is again black and white - four “blesseds” contrasted with four “woes”. It is not to be interpreted “cyclically - one will not be given to, only to have it taken away again so that it can be returned, etc... It is intended to give hope for one’s heavenly future in a time when one’s earthly future was usually indistinguishable from (and as hopeless as) one’s past. 1 Corinthians 15.12-20 presents Paul’s view - in black and white - of Christ’s sacrifice and redemption. If you believe, Jesus offer you hope on earth. If you do not believe, then why fear the lord? Taken together, these passages convict Christians who seek to live out the middle option. The middle ground empowers the teachings of Christ more than the resurrected person of Christ. It is this seeking for the logical, comfortable, middle ground which allows us our beliefs in our radical, black and white religion, yet permits us to fit into our comfortable world where we make everything grey, where a little weaselling is OK. It is not unusual to do this - prophetic writings spoke to historic believers who were doing exactly the same thing in trying to compromise judaism with living in common society. But the prophets said: it IS a black and white situation. There is no middle ground. [AP]


Passage: Lectionary
Communion: No
Ecumenical or Event: Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Potluck Lunch: No
Congregational Meeting: No


Speaker: J. Evan Kreider
Worship Leader: Angela Ekkert
Song Leader: Eric Hannan
Pianist: J Evan Kreider
Zoom Coordinator:
Children's Feature Leader:


Bring Flowers:
Coffee Helper:
Sound Helper:


Child Care Volunteer: Vange Thiessen

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