Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 12th March 2023: The God of consolation

Christ Ministry Suffering Priest 2 Corinthians 1

Reading : Verses from 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Opposition to the ordination of women as priests grew in Worcestershire the week before the first Ordination in 1994, and based in the cathedral a lot of it came my way. It had always been there from becoming a Deaconess and then later a Deacon. Comments about why I wasn't looking after my children, or why I wouldn't attend Morning Prayer at 7.30 am. However, thanks to Bishop John who instructed me to work school hours and evenings, I continued. But that week of the ordination things accelerated. I received a number of horrible anonymous letters, adult choristers refused to 'pass the peace' in the Eucharist turning their backs on me, and a man interrupted a service I was leading. All of this caused some anguish and soul searching as to if this was what God wanted.

In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians he begins not with a thanksgiving as in other letters, but with a blessing. He praises God as 'the God of all consolation'. When life is difficult (whether due to illness, financial hardship, or other kinds of affliction) God intervenes to free us from our suffering, so that we can be of service to Him. As Jon Leveson a Hebrew scholar says "The chosen are called to serve". God does not just comfort us, but the Christ who suffers for us, consoles us so that His power flows through us enable us to console others and continue His work.

As for me, well I went on to have a wonderful ministry in Worcestershire, Suffolk, Cumbria and Wales, and now with these 'Thoughts' with people around the world. There were still bad times, but with God's help I kept on with His work.


Lord Jesus Christ,
You understand our suffering and pain,
and when we turn to You,
You are there to console us.
You never leave us on our own,
but are there at the difficult
times of our life.
Help us to remember
that consolation comes
so that we can then
console others in our turn.

Follow Up Thoughts

Many of us find it difficult to help others when we are having problems. This non-Christian site can be useful:

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