A Foolish Message that Transforms
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
I used to love the plots and plan to trick family, friends and colleagues with April Fools jokes and pranks. But, come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time someone played a joke on me or me on them. With the enormity of multiple crises, hype-politicization and entrenched disagreements over the last few years perhaps we have lost some of our playful spirit. I grieve the loss of humorous camaraderie! Now, if you decide to surprise me with a joke or prank, please be kind!
Today I celebrate another type of fool of which I hope I am one! I celebrate those to whom the message of the Cross has given them power to be transformed and to transform. On this Maundy Thursday, the passion of Jesus is magnified by his pronouncement of the mystery of communion at the Passover table, “this is my body broken for you, this is my blood shed for you.” After the meal Jesus leads the disciples to a garden to pray and it is there that his betrayal was completed, and he was taken away to beatings, an unjust trial and ultimately death. The seemingly foolish message is that Jesus who is Immanuel, “God With Us,” took humanity’s brokenness upon himself at the Cross and “by his stripes/wounds we are healed”. Through the Cross and the resurrection to come a new covenant of Forgiveness is begun and the hold of sin, disease and death are immediately and ultimately broken. Abundant new life is offered to all who will receive!
God works through the fools who love, believe, and respond to the message of Christ. Peter and Andrew gave up the family business to follow some guy from the tiny town of Nazareth. Mary of Bethany spent a year’s salary on perfume to wash Jesus’ dirty feet. Paul went from persecuting Christians to becoming a Christian. He writes what people said about him in Galatians, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy” (1:23). How strange, to embrace and advocate for a faith that he previously attempted to eliminate. How weird, for Paul to now boast in his suffering God, rather than in his personal accomplishments. Yet, we are led by the most foolish one of all, the God who voluntarily became human to dwell among other foolish humans so that they might become God’s children. Join me in becoming even more of a fool for Christ as we share the incredible love that we have received.
Open us, Living God, to understanding and living out the Good News of the Cross. Amen.