Text: 2nd Corinthians 12:1-10
For God’s will to be done in your life
For those who are powerless
[We] turn religion into poetry and therapy…make truth vaguer and vaguer, more and more relative, banish intellectual distinctions…depend on feeling instead of thought…and gradually…come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate with us, cannot reveal himself to us, indeed has not done so, and that religion is our own sweet invention.
These words, from a letter Flannery O’Conner wrote to a friend, were written because O’Connor saw a future where truth would be made to serve our “authentic selves.” Some fifty years later, O’Connor is proved a prophet: we live in a world where “successful” religion is based on “I feel good by practicing it,” and the power of faith is based solely on what works for me. The claim that Jesus Christ is Lord and is active in human existence is seen as either ludicrous or beside the point.
The difficulty of our situation is compounded by the gulf between our insistence on “power” or “effectiveness” and the Christian assertion, first made by St. Paul, that Jesus Christ’s power is made most apparent in our moments of weakness. To know the power of God, we must embrace our own powerlessness, our inability. We worry about the benefits of religious faith, for we want our religion to make us more powerful, not reveal our weaknesses! But Paul will have nothing of that.
This prescription is hard, hard because it is truthful: if you really want to know Jesus Christ and his benefits, then you have to stop worrying about the benefits and know Jesus for his own sake. If you find the Christian faith useless to you—that you get nothing from it—then the only cure is plunge in and seek after Christ, for his sake only. Then God, and his power, will find you.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks