A reading from 1 Corinthians
The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It's written,
I'll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I'll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn't God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.
While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God's ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."
Perhaps like people who cower away from the light, lest their own sins are exposed, we cannot bear to be in the presence of total Love, so we destroy it. The jealous, small-minded childishness of wanting to destroy what we cannot be and cannot have. Or is it the weakness of Jesus we despise, the weakness that reminds us of our own, which we try constantly to conceal and deny? His total humanity reveals our inability to be human. God lets himself be pushed out of the world onto the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us.
This is the foolishness of the cross to which Paul refers: this absurdity that the story of a supposedly broken, defeated and executed prophet, healer and lover of humanity becomes the story of God’s saving action in the world and potentially of God’s saving action in us all.
This is standing with Christ, accepting the foolishness of the cross as the way of salvation — that in this vulnerable Messiah is a truth that needs to be lived and made known.
It is in accepting our brokenness and our vulnerability, acknowledging our confusion and our sense of loss — in that lies the seeds of resurrection hope. We are not perfect, and neither will we be perfect, but the way of love is not about perfection but about forgiveness and healing. It is about being weak enough to lament the realities of the pain of our world, the realities of our own sorrow and confusion, and then again and again turning back to the light and welcoming through love what it reveals. It is in accepting our brokenness that we know we are loved, and we learn again what we were made to be and what we can seek to become.
O Jesus, stretch forth your wounded hands over your people to heal and to restore, and to draw us to yourself and to one another in love. Amen.
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