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Week of: February 11, 2018
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
We do not preach about ourselves. Instead, we preach about Jesus Christ as Lord .... God said that light should shine out of darkness. God is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:5-6, CEB)
Four verses from Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Corinth are the Epistle reading in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The RCL's selection is somewhat ironic, however. For, like the disciples who misinterpreted what they were witnessing (Mark 9:2-9, the transfiguration of Jesus), the crowds witnessing the teaching and preaching of Paul and other apostles misunderstood what they were hearing.
Transformations do occur. When experienced or witnessed they may seem phantasmic; transformations seem unreal, imagined, illusory. However, in the particular sphere of worship arts we may witness frequent transformations. God's light shines through the child singer who blossoms into a gifted youth or adult soloist, the shy or awkward youth who is transformed by a dance or a reading offered in worship, the adult whose scribble in the margins of their Bible becomes a worship visual design.
Paul reminds his hearers, contrary to their impression, that he is not preaching about himself; rather he is transformed by preaching about Jesus Christ. The transforming light of Christ shines forth through the darkness – i.e., the limited, but heart-sincere, abilities and offerings in worship.
We should intentionally encourage and watch for such sacred in-breakings, such transformations in our midst.
The hymn by 20th century British Methodist minister and hymn writer, Fred Pratt Green, provides words for praise and prayer:
Christ is the world’s Light, Christ and none other;
born in our darkness, he became our brother.
If we have seen him, we have seen the Father: Glory to God on high! *
* Words: Fred Pratt Green, © 1969 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Found in The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), No. 188.
Deacon, The United Methodist Church