But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12)
I thought about this reflection of Paul yesterday when I read and re-posted this thought from blogger Carlos Rodriguez:
“The Church does a terrible job with power and riches because it was never meant to be powerful and rich. Its assignment is humility and service. Kindness and welcoming. Gentleness and love. Go.“
It’s an important reminder always, but especially now, it seems, as we watch the context for power and riches unfold before our eyes in this election cycle. this is what is always going on in the goings on of empire, of state, of government everywhere.
Two things stand out for me. first, we need to remember that the Church locates itself in the abdication of these things the world is always vying for. The cross of Jesus holds our aspirations. We pray always that we have the power to let go of ourselves and whatever we have in this world. Second, it is in the letting go that we find power after all, Holy power, God-power to serve, to welcome, to love. This is power indeed! Strength is the word Paul finds, the power of Christ dwelling in me, in us.
This is when the Church is at its best, when it freely admits, recognizes, and confesses its own weakness, thereby giving up, giving in and asking God to take over. This is how power is made perfect in our weakness, because power becomes God’s at work in us and through us and not our own.
All of this is a repetitive process of humbling ourselves, of “letting go and letting God” as the old saying goes. So as we hear the clanging of colliding kingdoms these days, as we witness the tug of war for the top of the hill, and as the plans of this world formed in power take shape — let us be the Church that is giving up, giving in, and seeking the power of the cross, finding strength to do the loving of Christ our world seems to need now more than ever before.