Dear St. Paul:
How I wish you could explain how to apply this passage to my life. I meditated on it while pounding away on the elliptical machine and couldn’t move beyond your saying that “I consider life of no importance to me.” Huh? I’m struggling with this one.
It has been an intense couple of weeks. My very close friend was hurt in an accident and I’m also praying for a couple of other seriously ill friends. Graduating seniors need help finding jobs. My daughter-in-law is coping with work and kids while my son is at a lengthy Air Force training program 3,000 miles away. I’m involved in several issues at work and every morning NPR reminds me of the suffering people in places like Syria and Somalia.
Is there something wrong in being wrapped up in all of this or am I misreading you? You do then say that all that is important is carrying out your ministry and bearing witness to the Gospel. Could my concerns and efforts be my own form of bearing witness to the Gospel?
I initially wanted to argue with the matter of fact way you told your readers that you would never see them again since that’s not how most of us operate (or even should operate). But then I realized how difficult your departure must have been because your letters to your churches show your deep love for them.
In fact, the more I thought about it, dear St. Paul, I almost wished I could hug you and console you as you steel yourself to face a terrifying future. You must have been frightened, no matter how brave a front you display. Are you telling us to face up to our own fears about living the Gospel? Are you telling us to live out the mission God has for us even if we have to pay some price? Instead of telling us to detach from life because it is unimportant, might you be telling us to discover what is important and surrender the rest to the grace of God? Am I even asking the right questions?
Thank you so much.
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