This week marks a change in the way that we will conduct worship as we continue to worship online. We are learning that attention spans are shorter online, so through August we will offer a brief (about five minute) reflection on the scripture for both the recorded service and the live Zoom worship. As our series on Exodus wrapped up last week, we also shift to the New Testament.
I have come to value the power of written communication for helping us feel connected during this time of physical distancing. There is something special about a letter . . . even a postcard. So we turn our attention to Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, while he is apart from them. More specifically, we find ourselves in 2 Corinthians, which offers thoughtful words during times of struggle and suffering.
We will kick off with the letter’s greeting. Paul really gets down to business in this opening. There’s not much in the way of flowery hello; instead, he talks over and over again about consolation in affliction. As we wrestle with rising unemployment, continued separation, the crying out for racial justice, climbing Covid-19 numbers (and on and on and on), we are reminded that God is our ultimate consolation. But Paul also reminds us that, if we are being consoled, it is so that we can in turn be consolers.
On this Independence Day weekend, our words and music will remind us of our prayers and hopes for our country. As we explore the responsibility of consolation, we will wrestle together with liberation, asking if our consolation turns us into consolers, does our freedom turn us into liberators.
I look forward to wrestling with you over the responsibilities of freedom.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Reflection: “If It’s Any Consolation”
As we continue to be apart, please know I am praying for your safety and flourishing. I hope you know you are loved (by me but mostly by God).