Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing
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Simon Arscott
Simon Arscott Simon has been sent by the International Presbyterian Church to lead All Nations Church, Ilford. Born and bred south of the river in Camberwell, London, he studied in York.
03 November, 2022 2 min read

I wonder what commends a minister to you. What things would stand out to you as marking a Christian minister as bona fide? Paul comes up with a very interesting list of qualities that ‘commend’ him as a minister to the congregation at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (their relationship was clearly a bit bumpy).

With a series of pastoral scandals breaking and the relationship between congregations and those in the ministry being particularly fraught, it might be a good list to acquaint yourself with.

One particular quality caught my eye: ‘sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’. It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it mean? Paul isn’t saying, sometimes he’s sorrowful and sometimes he’s rejoicing. This isn’t describing the natural ups and downs of our spirits. Rather, he is describing two simultaneous experiences.

On the one hand, Paul constantly experienced sorrow. This wasn’t a problem to be medicated, for it actually authenticated his ministry. As far as Paul’s concerned, this is a vale of tears; here we have no continuing city. He’s longing for a better country. He experiences the misery of sin.

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