Our reflection this week is written by our student Maria
“Life is not merely to live but to live well.” It seems it is simple to achieve in theory but difficult to live in practice because, as we know, life is not easy, and to live well is tougher. Also, living as a Christian in our society is uneasy nowadays. So, living well as a Christian might be a challenge. For some of you, including me, today’s passage also seems challenging.
One of the earliest church leaders was Paul, and he wrote a letter to the people in the church in Corinth, a church he had started. He wrote that ‘we have this treasure’, which he mentioned earlier about Jesus Christ, so the treasure refers to the gospel of Jesus, and he added that ‘we have him in clay jars’.
Paul refers to the clay jars as ourselves, as we are breakable and weak. Paul did not deny how our lives to keep our faith in Jesus might be difficult. It feels like being crushed, perplexed, despaired, persecuted, forsaken, struck down, and destroyed. No matter how much we have strong faith in God, we could have these difficulties in our lives directly and indirectly.
When I read a news article about at least half of Gaza’s buildings damaged or destroyed since Israel launched its retaliation, I felt despair. When I saw that the climate crisis was ignored, it seemed like my voice was forsaken. My dear friend is dying, she is only 54. I felt struck down.
How about you? When have you experienced crushed, perplexed, despaired, persecuted, forsaken, struck down, and destroyed?
Paul was not asking you to pay noble sacrifices to hold the treasure of Jesus; he refers to our ordinary lives, which is the ordinary daily routine. So, Paul encourages us to carry Jesus and his experiences in our ordinary lives: his mental, emotional, spiritual and physical: the loneliness, the disappointments with his disciples, the tiredness, the constant harassment by opponents, the crowd’s continuous demands, the distrust of his family, the mocking and abuses of his enemies, the journey of his friends, the hours on the cross, the thirst and then the end.
In fact, Jesus invited his disciples to share his wholeness journey: ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’ (Mark 8:34)
This is the invitation from Jesus. As much as we understand how weak we are, like the clay jars, we shall know how the gospel of Jesus transforms us to be strong in God’s hands. It is a mysterious life.
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