Reading for Monday, Sept 24: 2 Cor 5
This is absolutely my favorite chapter in the Bible. Which means I’ll have to work really hard to keep this from being a massively long post!
Paul’s comments about the ministry of reconciliation have been formative for my understanding of Christian identity. In verse 14, as he writes to explain to the Corinthians why he does the things he does, Paul says it succinctly: “For the love of Christ compels us…”. A few other translations say “the love of Christ controls us.” The word literally means that Christ’s love has claimed us, that we have become sacred space for Christ’s love to take root. I love how the Message translates verses 12-14:
“We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.”
What would my life look like if I took these words seriously? What if His love had the first and last word in everything I did? What if every word, every thought, every act was compelled by the love of Christ? I find that my actions are compelled by a variety of motives: fear, duty, pride, ignorance, apathy…I could go on. But what if the love of Christ was my primary motivation? What would my life look like?
I have no idea what the answer to that question would be, but I’m ready to try and find out.
This is the ministry of reconciliation: letting the love of Christ control me fully, animating me toward sharing that same love with others.