Year C Epiphany 7 – Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26
The readings this week can be viewed through the lens of providential care. Providence is a term hardly used in post-modern western culture. The term itself is merely an act of providing or preparing for future use of something. But that is not why the term is ignored. It is because of its theological implications.
Joseph’s emotional story reveals himself before the very brothers who sold him into slavery. The power of forgiveness and love is amazing. But what is marvellous is the source of his strength. He attributed it to God’s providential care. Joseph believed his hardships were part of God’s preparation for future care of Joseph’s family.
The Psalmist sings a song that could easily have drawn its inspiration from Joseph’s story. When we are tempted to fret and worry about wrongdoers, we are encouraged to look back at God’s justice and be inspired for our vindication. Providential care is about an active foresight. It is the type of care that is not reactive but proactive in its planning. “Be still” and “wait patiently” for the Lord. God is already providing for your need.
The Corinthian Church were taught practical theology. Providential care in theology is God exercising care for God’s creation. Without providential care, God is a contradiction. God as creator cares for God’s creation. The power that created is the same that continues creation’s existence. To deny providence is to deny God. To deny God’s resurrection power is to deny the very power that creates and sustains us through life.
The bottom line of the apostle to the Corinthian Church is this: “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Luke’s gospel illustrates the “why” that is not possible. It also demonstrates “how” the kingdom of God manifests itself on earth. When God’s covenant people are able to love their enemies, God’s providential care blesses with abundance.
Are you struggling through a circumstance right now in your life where you wonder, “Where is God in all this?” Providential care is about God preparing you and your deliverance in the background. Eventually, God will be manifested to you and your situation will be addressed. Rest in God’s word and testimony of past victories and you will find your peace.