Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

by Crossings

Trouble Arising
II Corinthians 12:2-10
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
analysis by Ed Schroeder

Sabbatarians,
A very small load of hay this time. But just wait till next Saturday’s (ugh!) seven-page essay on mission theology. I may (or may not) inflict it on you as Sabb. #72. It’s a first draft of of an article, which came off the word-processor this week of the 467th anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession. I trust you all commemorated the event on this Wednesday past, June 25.
This article is a run-up to one I’ve agreed to try for the upcoming Luther Research Congress in Heidelberg, Germany, in August. That one’s to sift out from Luther hints of his own theology of world religions. Already I’ve found some surprising stuff. More on that later. 
Concerning the texts appointed for July 6 I have the following Crossings reflections to offer.
Peace & Joy! Ed

THE SUNDAY TEXTS

All three pericopes for July 6, 1997, the 7th Sunday after Pentecost in the Revised Common Lectionary are about trouble, trouble arising from one’s call to be God’s prophet (Ezekiel), God’s Messiah and his disciples (prophets without honor at home), and God’s apostle (Paul). In the second lesson (II Corinthians 12:2-10) Paul gives his own analysis of the trouble that has come with his office. It goes something like this:

DIAGNOSIS

STAGE 1. I’ve had my ups and downs, some of them real uppers (vv.1-4) and real downers (vv.7-9). They have been hyperbole (Paul’s Greek term) experiences. It’s perplexing to know what to do with that stuff.

STAGE 2. The temptation is to take them all at face-value, that is, Christlessly. Then the torments become Satanic and the uppers feed one’s conceit.

STAGE 3. Then Satan wins, God loses, the apostle loses big time, and so do those to whom apostles are sent.

NEW PROGNOSIS

STAGE 4. Christ’s own power play in the midst of weakness. [In Mark 6, the ochlos Messiah] In Corinthians it is his cross and resurrection. Classic Corinthian texts for this: I Cor. 1:18-25 and II Cor. 5:17-21.

STAGE 5. Coping with the uppers and downers in faith. Paul’s rhetoric: “being in Christ.” Trusting God’s grace as sufficient, having God’s power made perfect in my weakness (v.9). Cf. I Cor. 1:30.

STAGE 6. Living “in Christ.” See Paul’s biographical synopisis in v. 9b – 10. Boasting in weakness. “Boasting in the Lord” (I Cor. 1:31). Making uppers out of downers “for Christ’s sake.”

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