A reflection on 2 Corinthians 4:3-12 for Transfiguration Sunday, February 14, 2021
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:3-12 (NRSVA)
There are some key words here: ‘veiled’; ‘blinded’; ‘light’, and; ‘shine’. A theme prompted by the creative voice of God” “Let light shine out of darkness”.
Clearly, however, not all are able to see this ‘light’ – this ‘glory of Christ’. Sadly, many are blind to this ‘veiled’ reality.
And yet, we are – at our core – proclaimers of Jesus, the Christ. How could we not be? After all, ‘God…has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’
This is the very knowledge of heaven settled into our all too earthly hearts. Here Paul insists on this connection between the extraordinary and the ordinary in us. Between heaven and earth. The apostle makes no mention of this occurring in a temple, church, or other sacred place.
Rather, this miracle of heaven and earth together occurs in us!
Read that again: The miracle of heaven and earth occurs in us.
Paul goes on to insist that this is not because we are so extraordinary. On the contrary, this ‘power’ is revealed to the world through our weakness. It is revealed in our affliction, our perplexion, our persecution.
We carry ‘…in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.’
May you have eyes to see the union of heaven and earth in every encounter with those who follow after this death-to-life Jesus!
Can you recall all a person who embodied the ‘power’ of God? What was this person like?
Why do you think God chooses to act in thIs veiled way through the church?
Do you think it is easier to see this veiled power of God in yourself or in others? What experiences make you answer this way?