Saturday, July 16, 2022
Some Guests Are Serene,
the Peace of
This Consecrated Place
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.
2 Corinthians 6:4
As servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities.
Words of Grace For Today
To commend is to to entrust for care or preservation.
So how can we entrust ourselves to others for care or preservation.
Paul faced the hatred of Jewish leaders and communities (because he clearly threatened their power and control of their faith – Christianity being a new alternative away from and out of Judaism), but more so the Roman authorities who responded to the complaints of the people under their jurisdiction.
So Paul, needed funding and protection from hostile elements and authorities, entrusted himself to the various congregations he helped start, the one in Corinth included.
In this verse Paul commends himself not by proper teaching, or life saving teaching, or bringing Jesus’ Word to the people. He commends himself through his endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities …. And at that point one realizes one needs the larger context of what Paul wrote, for this is not quite right for Paul. So:
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.
So Paul uses his ‘track record’ of enduring great tribulations to seek the open hearts of the Corinthians. Not only his tribulations, though. The list is long on the work of the Spirit in Paul beginning with
purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God
and ending with
We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Few have it as rough as Paul did, but many have had congregations like the Corinthians, or worse. Do everything and anything for them, caring for them, loving them, burying the dead and celebrating life with them, and they still come back at you to drive you to your grave … as if it is their God-given task to kill pastors (and lay leaders).
It is a great surprise that the RCMP, the lawyers, and the courts have tried their best to kill me as well, all without any cause that I can find … though the court records are full of reasons none of them are actually true, and it’s not difficult to know that.
Pests abound as well: mosquitoes, wasps, and the two legged kind who keep intruding past barriers and gates, stealing valuables and essentials for my survival, and with unnecessary noise pestering the peace, solitude, and holiness of this place.
To that I respond God help them, and for me I still live well, for
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, God preserves me against the wrath of my enemies;
God stretches out her-his hand, and her-his right hand delivers me.
With thanks I begin each day, as you can, too, for all God does to provide life abundant, and safety from one’s enemies, and peace from pests.