2 Corinthians 1:1-4
Twenty percent of US adults admits to struggling with loneliness. Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says this staggering statistic creates serious issues. In talking with Kate Bowler on her podcast, Murthy says that addressing loneliness pushes us to ask deeper questions like, “What’s our purpose?” We move beyond, “Who am I?” to “Who are we in relation to each other?” and “What kind of connections are we making?” Bowler says, “Loneliness may be the disease, but we are all medicine.” This problem should prompt the church to respond. But sometimes those who bring their sorrows to church leave with more.
After miserable experiences in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens, Paul stays in Corinth almost two years, founding a strong congregation of Jews and Gentiles. Corinth was a first-century Las Vegas. This church Paul loves struggles to be true in a materialistic culture.
Then a group announces, “We’re not paying attention to Paul anymore; Peter is a real disciple.” Others say, “We’re with Apollos; he’s the only one who can preach.” Paul tries to smooth things over, but it gets worse and the criticism stings.
Paul could keep his hurt feelings to himself. Instead he writes an honest letter because that will be good for the church. If Paul is vulnerable, they may realize what a church should be. If he opens his heart, they might open theirs. He tells them God comforts us when we’re hurt so that we can comfort others. He believes in the healing power of God’s people because he knows its source.
Source: “Vivek Murthy: The Loneliness Epidemic,” Everything Happens with Kate Bowler, Podcast audio, Nov. 5, 2019, http://everythinghappens.libsyn.com/vivek-murthy-the-loneliness-epidemic.
Why is being vulnerable so crucial for a congregation?
God, strengthen us when we are hurt so that we c