This passage reminds us of how fertile Paul's mind was, flitting from image to image as he seeks to write down how it felt to do his work. I well remember the roadside coffee stops in India and the clay pots customers were given to drink their purchase and at the end, to smash it on the ground. I saw in a documentary later of the Dalits-'Untouchables'- who produced these clay pots for a rupee (approx. 1p each). Our bodies are like these temporary vehicles but they contain within them the Holy Spirit of God. The Church is in the same state of vulnerability as Jesus was when He was born and as He grew. The believer might be tempted to congratulate himself for his wise move into the Kingdom of God, but life with God is not constructed to build one's pride! The believer is still mortal, subject to all the weaknesses of the human body. As we advance in age, we recognise this vulnerability all the more and, if we are fairly healthy and able to move around, to be grateful for God's gracious mercy to us. As Pascal stated: ''A drop of water or a breath of air can kill them.'' Paul may also have continued to have in mind the victory parades of triumphant Roman Generals. Not only did the crowd shout praise, they also shouted: ''Look behind you and remember you will die!'' Also, at the very end of the procession came the General's soldiers and they would sing songs of praise, but also made jokes and even insult the General to keep him from pride! The weakness is ours, the glory is God's: our dependence is utterly upon Him. Paul goes on to describe the Christian life for him: 1. Although he had faced great pressure, God had always provided an escape. 2. He never abandons us. Psalm 27 v 10 3. We may get to our wit's end, but we never need to get to the end of Hope. We may not see where life is going, but we can be certain that it is going somewhere. 4. We are knocked down, but not knocked out. (Sorry, but these words always bring the Weebles to mind!) How did Paul cope? 1. He knew that if someone would share the life of Christ, he must share the risks and the suffering. 2. He faced everything in the memory of the power of God. 3. He knew that through his trials and suffering he was encouraging others to come to the Light and love of God.
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