From the chair:
“You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.”
-2 Corinthians 3:2
Something about this week’s Bible reading is just a walk down memory lane–maybe it’s that the term is over and my mind is finally free to wander past what’s right in front of my face. This verse reminds me of something Mark Driscoll said in a sermon when he was my pastor. I don’t think it was about this verse, but I do remember that it was about the Corinthian congregation: It’s amazing that Paul is willing to call this congregation his “letter of recommendation.”
Among the recipients of New Testament epistles, the Corinthians may be the most infamous for blowing it. So many things Paul has to reprimand them for seem like they should go without saying (not that we, you know, have mastered these things, but they’re, like, in the Bible and stuff). Yet, Paul doesn’t think too much of himself to associate himself with this congregation. In fact, he realizes that he is associated with this congregation, and takes some responsibility for having to lead them. He’s not too self-righteous to delight in this slowly-being-sanctified group, and he makes his pastoral affection for them public.
This is a good reminder to those of us who minister to God’s Church. We are not better than the people we lead, as people or as their leaders. If we consider ourselves holier than the people we serve, waiting for the group that deserves us, we’ll probably drag that group down if we ever find it. These are the people God has given us to, for now. Any good in them is grace, just as any good in us is grace. So, why would we be ashamed of God’s people, unless we are ashamed of God? We are not better; we are unbelievably blessed to serve like our Lord.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
From the desk:
“By afternoon Amory realized that now the newest arrivals were taking him for an upper classman, and he tried conscientiously to look both pleasantly blasé and casually critical, which was as near as he could analyze the prevalent facial expression.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, kindle loc.492
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.