Turning to The Spirit in Times of Turmoil
“I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” 1 Cor. 2:3-4
The Apostle Paul was such an important part of the rise of the early church and the teachings and doctrines that affect our Christian theology every day. But it was his ability to touch the average reader with passionate yet humble words which amaze me.
Too often we can get tied up in the complexities of faith and religion. I have to believe that Paul was experiencing the frustration of seeing the people he loved being twisted and confused by forces from within and without their community. I’m sure that being a small band of believers in a busy, modern port city like Corinth was difficult enough; surrounded by business and people from throughout the world. Roman, Jewish, and many other religious influences were the norm. Then bring in the other Christian missionaries and teachers that were also journeying through those regions. Many teaching confusing and contradicting beliefs. Not unlike our modern world, fear and confusion must have seemed overwhelming to the small Church at that time.
And let us not forget the nature of humans to fight and turn on one another when going through stressful of frightening circumstances. The debates and arguments within the church in Corinth were such a problem, Paul felt the need to answer them in at least two letters.
So here is Paul, writing to the body of believers to instruct them on basic matters of being the church, but also to remind them that the power of the Gospel lies in the mystery of God’s redeeming love for the world, and in a simple message of grace. The Gospel is power in and of itself, fully understood only when we let the Holy Spirit humble us and build us up again.
In these seemingly crazy and confusing times, when we may feel overwhelmed ourselves, trust that God is in charge, the Gospel is still our foundation, and the Holy Spirit will still carry us through!