1 Corinthians 2:1,3-5 – When I first came to you I didn't use lofty words and brilliant ideas to tell you God's message. I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling. And my preaching was very plain, not with a lot of oratory and human wisdom, but the Holy Spirit's wisdom was in my words, proving to those who heard them that the message was from God. I did this because I wanted your faith to stand firmly upon God, not on people's great ideas. (Tyndale)
Paul could have overwhelmed the ordinary listener with his intellectual powers but he chose not to. Instead he spoke simply of Jesus Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide his thoughts. I was travelling with a Presbyterian pastor for a couple of days last week. This person does inner city work to help the elderly pass their final days in love and joy. This pastor speaks like Paul, devoid of intellectual oratory, but full of the Holy Spirit. The pastor speaks with the authority of God in a simple and effective way.
The pastor was asked on several occasions by the elderly, "We want to die quickly. Can you speed up the process for us?" The pastor was shocked and prayed for an answer to the terrible questions. He decided to change the conditions under which the elderly lived and placed an ad in the newspaper: "Wanted: a good used piano for singsongs in the old folks home."
A long term resident saw the ad and not only donated a new piano but also a pulpit. The singsong ministry has continued for ten years in seven institutions and plans are afoot to expand the singsong program to all government-run nursing homes in Ontario.
A singsong lifts people's spirits and opens the doors to preaching the word of God to many. It's not an intellectual ministry with great oratory. It's a simple act of love by eighty volunteers who co-ordinate singsong ministries. Many ministers have asked, "How did you come up with the idea?" And the answer always is the same "It's an act of love – It's not a new idea!" "I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling. And my preaching was very plain, not with a lot of oratory and human wisdom, but the Holy Spirit's wisdom was in my words, proving to those who heard them that the message was from God. I did this because I wanted your faith to stand firmly upon God, not on people's great ideas."
Prayer: Let us come before you, God, in humility, timid and trembling. For, in our self-inflicted wisdom, we have overlooked the needs of others. We think we are wise but realize, in the simple acts of others, that we are silly indeed. Let us be filled with your Holy Spirit, your wisdom, and your truth. Let us look back on all our decisions and see how many people we have hurt with our pomposity. Now let us redress these grievous acts and ask the Holy Spirit to give power to our words once again – and use these words only in love as Jesus taught. The rest is dross indeed. Amen.