2 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:2-5 NIV)
Paul reminds the Corinthians of the manner of his mission to them. His preaching did not use rhetorical tricks or wisdom. It was centered on the cross.
Parallel structures are here – first contrast between “eloquence or human wisdom” and Jesus Christ crucified. A second parallel contrast between “wise and persuasive words” and “demonstration of the Spirit’s power.”
These words of Paul seem fitting on St. Patrick’s Day that celebrates the great evangelist (well among other things). Patrick, like Paul, later must defend himself and answer criticisms leveled against him and his work.
Patrick speaks in his “Confession” of “… my ignorance and my slower speech.” He also says earlier that he had not studied as others had.
Yet Patrick takes up the cross and follows his master back to Ireland where he was still a slave in law. Like Paul and the people of Macedonia, Patrick has a vision of the Irish calling him to come and preach Christ to them. So he did.
Today I pray that I might have some of Patrick’s zeal for evangelism, his willingness to go where God led even into danger.
Holy and Blessed Trinity, may I today be inspired by your servant Patrick. May I know such faith and zeal as he showed in his life. May I have such gratitude for your goodness to me that it leads me to share that goodness with others. May I live today, speak today, write today – not in crafted words but in the power of the cross of Christ. Amen.