Bright, hot, humid. Summer mornings. I wake most days before my alarm, needing coffee and a word. Or several words, from scripture. I am empty and need to be filled. I realize that most people don’t start their days this way, but at this point in my life, it is hard to imagine any other system.
Sometimes it feels clear. What is for me. What is for you. The ideas flow. Connections. Discoveries. The words jump on the page.
Today I flip back and forth between Paul’s reflections in 2 Corinthians 4-5 and Jesus’ teaching on the mountain in Matthew 5-7. They relate to each other somehow, but the connection eludes me. What do I need? What do you need? I am fascinated by Paul’s assertions that hint at the tension between our present experience and our hope.
we don’t get discouraged (2 Cor 4:1)
we are not depressed (2 Cor 4:16)
we are always confident (2 Cor 5:6)
Taken out of context, this could make for a bad sermon. Paul talks about having a rough go of it. Acknowledges the hardship and gift of being in ministry. Bodies breaking down and the nearness of death.
We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out. 2 Cor 4:8-9 (CEB)
Paul doesn’t claim that life is easy, but he hopes in the truth revealed in Jesus. Which brings us back to the mountain. Jesus’ reinterpretation of the Law- rules, religion, and righteousness- brings life. And the kingdom of God is our home, now in our failing bodies and eternally in glory.
And so, for each new day. For all that it holds, In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
When I am alone
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus