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Semper Informanda: Prolegomenon
The Church As a Broken and Weak Body
God hardly ever does things the way we might expect. In fact, God takes conventional wisdom and practices and turns them on their head. The whole nature of His redemptive work is “upside down.” Instead of using people of power and integrity, or beauty and influence, God uses unknown people (e.g., Ruth), cowardly people (e.g., Gideon), deeply sinful people (e.g., David), and culturally insignificant people (e.g., all the disciples) to achieve His purposes. Why? So that He alone will receive the glory and the credit for what happens when He works through such surprising human vessels.
For people to understand the power of God working through His people, we must understand something: God often breaks the very people He intends to use for His glory. Our culture focuses on outward appearance, beauty, physical and social power, self-sufficiency, and self-achievement. But our cultural pursuit of these is idolatry. We have made little gods of ourselves.
But Paul tells us that “God chose what is… foolish… weak… low… despised… things that are not—so no human may boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus…” (1 Cor. 1:27-31). In his second letter to Corinth, Paul declared out right that his ministry was not from his own strength, but from God’s. God says to Paul, “…My power is made perfect in weakness” (In 2 Cor. 12:7-10). For Paul to boast in weakness seems absolutely insane to our modern sensibilities. To admit weakness is to admit defeat. But in God’s world, to admit weakness and defeat is necessary to accepting Him as the source of real power, purpose, and hope.
It is humbling to admit we don’t measure up, that we are not sufficient, that we are broken people. But the Body of Christ must grasp this counter-intuitive truth in order to find and dwell in God’s power. We must have the courage to look at each other on Sunday, well-dressed, well-spoken, appearing to “have it all together,” and say, “We know better. We are broken people, desperately needing the power of God to come in our weakness.” And this is where our friends who live with disability remind us by their presence who we really are.
Dr. Mike Beates
Dean of Students, The Geneva School
Orlando Semper Informanda | Volume 7 Issue 4