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What Will Happen When Paul Arrives?
2 CORINTHIANS 12.19-13.4

Three of the letters in the New Testament – the two letters addressed to Timothy, and the one to Titus – are known as ‘The Pastoral Epistles’. But actually, the more I read our present letter, 2 Corinthians, the more I think that this is the supreme ‘pastoral epistle’ of the New Testament, perhaps of all time. It is hard enough to be a pastor when you’re there with the congregation day after day, and can look them in the eye, sense their mood, discuss problems with them as they arise, and above all worship and pray with them daily and weekly and all round the year. There are still enormous problems which arise, for any pastor, preacher, priest or bishop. How much more difficult is it when you’re doing your pastoral work, of necessity, at one remove, and through letters, knowing that there are people in the community who are working systematically to undermine you. This letter has the sure touch of someone who prays for his people, loves them unreservedly, and remains personally open to them, involved with them, vulnerable before them. It is a deeply risky position to be in...

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