Paul understands his primary call to be that of proclamation.
Paul’s conversion came in a flash of light, with Jesus himself
speaking to Paul. The story involved visions, blindness, and
healing. (Read Acts 9.) Most of us do not experience God’s call
on our lives in quite so flashy a way. Rather, it comes in the quiet
of prayer, a whisper of thought, the suggestion of a friend, a
passion that flowers over years. There is nothing dramatic about
the times of doubt and struggle, redefinition and prayer. Many
of us need finally to realize: “Oh! That is what God is telling
me to do!” Few experience anything as certain as God telling us
what to do.
The uncertainty is frightening. The places God sends us and
what we’re asked to do can frighten us. The act of trusting God
and stepping out in faith is scary. Why would God want that?
What is God thinking?
Paul reminds the Corinthians that the wisdom of fancy
speech and status represents the world’s wisdom. The cross of
Christ makes no sense when analyzed logically or when we
employ the code of the survival of the fittest. God’s nature is
love and mercy, goodness and wisdom. Acting from love doesn’t
always make sense. Allowing the Son to die for others doesn’t
make sense. Yet, the Corinthians, who find themselves in conflict
with one another, by their very division empty the cross of
What God asks of us doesn’t always make sense. But God is
trustworthy. However frightening God’s call may seem, we are
being saved by “the power of God.”
God, may I face my fears and pursue your calling, knowing your power is at work in me. Amen.
The image of light figures in three of the texts. Light not only illumines but brings a changed situation. The psalmist’s confession links light with salvation. The Gospel lesson expresses deliverance in terms of the nearness of God’s reign, which overcomes diseases and distortions. Light permits well-being. Light is the mode of God’s presence.
• Read Isaiah 9:1-4. When has God called you out of the darkness of an old habit, a familiar circumstance, into the light of new opportunity for ministry?
• Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. Do you feel more comfortable talking with God about your joys or your pains? Is there need for more openness in either?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. In your faith community, when have members found themselves at odds over priorities of no eternal value?
• Read Matthew 4:12-23. Put yourself into the story. What do you hear, see, feel, or smell? How have you answered the call of Jesus?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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