Deeper. Together: The God of All Comfort
God has not brought us this far to leave us now. We are being called and prepared to be the church at such a time as this. We are called by God to be witnesses in the world-that so desperately needs to know the hope, love and promises of Jesus.
Bishop Tracy Malone
We have been training our entire Christian lives for such a time as this:
Let’s go deeper, together in God’s Word
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (NIV)
Although this passage never appears in the Sunday lectionary (any week of any year!) I think it is beautiful. I think it sums up soul friendship. I think it saves us from ourselves (as in, sometimes it's hard to get outside of our own pain.) It is a word for when we need comforting. And it's a word that sparks, motivates us to reach out as comforter, to get past: ‘what shall I say?’ Because these verses teach the connection: Jesus' pain connects to my pain connects to your pain. When that link is made, just watch. The God of all comfort joins this circle.
And not just any sort of comfort. Not comfort in general. Not a worldly source of comfort. No! Not even a bottle of ‘Southern Comfort!’ This is the highest kind of comfort there is. This is the comfort God supplies to His suffering people, enjoyed by Paul and his companions, and available to all God’s people who suffer. And, to be shared today, with each other in a very special bond of fellowship.
One last thing, the word for 'comfort' (parakleisis)… is similar to the word Jesus used at the Last Supper when he promised a Helper or Help of the Highest Sort (paraklete.) Jesus was promising the gift of the Holy Spirit. The use of a word in one place often gives us insight into the use of the word in another place. Truly, comfort from God received and shared is dynamic, it’s holy, and Jesus is at the heart of it.
What’s a thing you would have done the past decade if you knew what awaited us in 2020? (Humor welcome.)
Who comforted you when you needed comforting? What are some qualities of the comfort you were shown? How did this comforting person learn to be a comforter?
The word 'comfort' is used 10 times in these verses. You might even say that Paul’s wording is awkward or redundant (see vs.4.) Paul was a gifted writer. Why does he so amplify this word?
Finally, Paul is trying to ‘flip a script.’ He does that a lot in his letters. Are there any ‘scripts’ in our life today that need ‘flipping?’
"Dear friend, I'm praying that all is well with you and that you enjoy good health in the same way that you prosper spiritually." (3 John 1:2)
Pastor Ben Weisbrod
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