`Weak` Paul's role as one who builds up the Body of ChristIt is interesting to read Paul's second letter to the congregation in Corinth. It is vivid that Paul had experienced some kind of tribulations, challenges and criticisms from the faithful in Corinth. In spite of all, Paul still shows his deep longing for reconciliation, peace, love and expresses his great joy even when this dissatisfactory situation was brought forth. Paul reassures them that he lives by God's power in his weaknesses.
Paul appears to be a confessional, humble, simple and unequivocal person to his brothers and sisters in Corinth. He boasts in his weakness and inabilities. In other words he places himself vulnerable before the faithful. Perhaps Paul boasting in his weaknesses was also a sign of wrestling with a thorn in his flesh to always realise the grace of God... (2Cor12:7). "We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored" (2Cor13:9). In nutshell Paul's aim is the restoration, reconciliation and completeness of the faithful in their first love with Christ Jesus. Paul would find cause for joy in all these, if only the disciples whom he loves are strong with the strength of God. In the context of Paul we learn the mission of the church through God's grace and the participation of the believers in building up the body of Christ.
What is contrary in Paul's mission in relation to our context especially that Paul's mission starts by vindicating himself before God and His people? "When I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority -- the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down." (2Cor13:10). Here Paul is spiritually driven for the mission of the church and he does not divert from his purposes. We may introspect ourselves in our context as to where we are in exploring the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to edify and restore rather than inflicting pain to the body of Christ.
|We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. (2Corinthians13:9-10)|
(Wonke Buqa is married to Bongeka and blessed with a son Bukho (8) and two lovely dogs Chopper and Beyoncé. He loves academic research in theology and psychology, he enjoys aerobics, weight lifting and spiritual contemplation.)