Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1-3
This book is Paul's second biblical attempt to "right" the church at Corinth. See, this wikipedia entry for more details. The section on the chronology of his time with the Corinthians is fascinating to me. Basically, this is a church he loved and was paining him greatly. This letter is open in ways he rarely is. It shows much of his personal weakness and "humanity". I'm excited to study this together, may it make us all more humble!!
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_to_the_Corinthians
Observation: It was clear that Paul's last visit to Corinth was not a good one. Did you see the beginning of Chapter 2? 2:4 really stuck out to me: "At the time I wrote, I was suffering terribly. My eyes were full of tears, and my heart was broken. But I didn't want to make you feel bad. I only wanted to let you know how much I cared for you." The translation I read in Nicaragua said, "I wrote out of much affliction".
Application: I have loved Summer of Scripture. It has been WONDERFUL! Truly. We will have to do this again some other time. But, if I am honest with you--I haven't loved writing every day. Most days I love it. I love to write, I love to read scripture, and I love you all. So, most days its wonderful. But some days, "I write out of great affliction". Honestly, today might be one of those days. I thought I'd written ahead enough to cover today, and come to find out, I hadn't. Even worse, as I write this I'm trying to take my first REAL sabbath day in longer than I should admit. And when I sat down to write, I wasn't excited. But then I read Paul's words. On forgiveness. On love. On putting others happiness first and letting them help you. And something changed in me. I realized that I can do all these things because you are with me. That when things irk me or frustrate me or anger me, it is this community and OUR GOD who will bring me back to good. That I will never be left or forsaken! And even Paul wrote out of affliction some times.
So, now I'm happily typing away. Remembering that Sabbath and community and prayer and love and scripture can all be brought together in amazing ways. I thank God for each of you. May our afflictions not change who we are or cloud our image of God!
Prayer: God, I give you all the weights that are dragging me down. I give you all my cares, for you care for me. Will you change my heart? Will you change my attitude? Will you make me better? Thank you for all you do, all you are, all you've given and not given me. Amen.