August 06, 2008

A Wordless Teacher

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:27


The apostle Paul, who wrote 1 Corinthians, sets up a contrast between foolish and wise, weak and strong. The kinds of things we usually connect with strength?financial power, political clout, intelligence, physical might and beauty?while good in themselves, ultimately carry no lasting weight. Real strength comes through God's weakness: “Christ crucified.” In this greatest act of self-sacrifice and weakness came the greatest victory. In Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection he conquered all the powers of evil and death. We could do nothing; he had to do everything. The “weakest” members of society often teach us how precious each person is to God. Marjorie's son Brian is severely multiply impaired. Marjorie's husband, Sam, developed ALS (also called Lou Gehrig's disease), and in the final months of his life he lived with severe impairments as well. As all of his abilities were gradually taken from him, Sam wrestled with what really matters in life. At that point, the son became a teacher. Sam said, “If there is one thing Brian has taught us, it's that even when the body doesn't work, there is still a person inside.” Brian, who can't speak, taught his whole family what really matters. Inside even very broken and weak bodies are people for whom Christ was crucified.

Savior, Strength, and Fortress, thank you for conquering death through your weakness and for giving worth and life to all who believe. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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