We started the year with communion. We read Isaiah 53 and I spoke about penal substitutionary atonement, which is at the heart and centre of our faith. I then preached to a good sized congregation from James 1:19-21. I had worked up a good little mnemonic - quick, slow, slow; out with the old and in with the new - which should enable any good listener to recapture the whole sermon or at least the text. Some students were still around plus other visitors and one or two newbies who we hope we see again. Everyone was happy to come through for a cuppa after the meeting, which is not always the case, so that was good. We were a smaller congregation in the evening as ever but round the twenty mark. I took three Proverbs that I have looked at before but with some fresh supporting material. Proverbs 27:1, 19:21 and 16:3 are just made for a new year gathering.
Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.