If there was to be one text that could be said to be at the heart of Wine Before Breakfast, Graduate Christian Fellowship and pretty much everything that we do in campus ministry at the University of Toronto, it would likely be Romans 12.1-2:
“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Monday, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. Dr. King once said that Christians are too often like thermometers, registering and reflecting the temperature all around them, when in fact we are called to thermostats, influencing and changing the spiritual, moral, and cultural atmosphere of the society in which we live.
Kind of sounds like the distinction between being “conformed to this world” or being “transformed by the renewal of our minds.”
And in our ministry we are unabashedly all about transformation. Heck one of our folks once wrote a book about such transformation. But we also stand with Paul (and King) by insisting that transformed “minds” without bodies presented as living sacrifices is a pious intellectualism that doesn’t really amount to very much. No, the whole point of a transformed mind is that we might be discerning people, perceiving in the midst of our day to day personal and professional lives what embodied discipleship looks like.
There is no mind/body dualism for Paul. And there is no possibility of separating worship from this whole matter of transformed minds and sacrificial bodies either. Whole-bodied, mind-transformed, non-conformist living is precisely what worship is all about. Indeed, this way of living is worship!
So this week we come to Romans 12 at Wine Before Breakfast. This week we come to the heart of our ministry, and to the radical implications of the story that Paul has been telling and retelling in the previous 11 chapters of this letter.
Scott Flemming has the joyful task of preaching out of Romans 12. No pressure, Scott!
Andrew Asbil will be serving the bread, the band has some U2 and some more Marley on tap, and the food will be good as usual. Just the kind of thing that embodied discipleship needs.
One last thing, friends. In Romans 12 Paul identifies hospitality to be one of the defining characteristics of the body of Christ. Let’s extend that hospitality to other folks who need to be fed deeply on a Tuesday morning. Bring your friends. In fact, if you are going to heed Paul well, then you should bring your enemies too.
Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am