Weakness, Fear, and Much Trembling

My family and I have been in Philadelphia for a little over three weeks. The transition has been a good one. The people of COS are to be thanked for their kindness and sensativity. During these days we have been learning the lay of the land both literally and figuratively. I have a better understanding of the history and personality of COS which has been helpful. Also being out of the pulpit during this time, while frustrating, has been useful in allowing me to pay more attention to my family than I otherwise would have.

That said, I will be preaching my first sermon as pastor of Church of the Saviour this Sunday. I will be preaching from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. It reads as follows:

And I, when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I am challenged by Paul's unswerving confidence in the message of the cross to be a message freighted with God's power. I am also moved by his humility. Though unquestionably intellegent and gifted, Paul placed no confidence in himself. Though able to reason a point well he placed no confidence in his ability to win a debate. Rather his confidence lay in a message that was then and is now considered foolish. It is the Gospel, the message of the cross, the proclamation of Christ's doing, dying, and rising.

Paul's weakness and trembling corresponded to the weakness and foolishness of the message he was charged to proclaim. Also, I am sure his fear stemmed from the magnitude of his task. What an awesome thing it is to be entrusted with the oversight of the Body of Christ. It is indeed a burden to lead and teach the flock of God. It is a glad burden but a burden none-the-less. All those given that responsibility would do well to tremble.