Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Today’s text

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

The message of the cross folly for those who are on the way to ruin, but for those of us who are on the road to salvation it is the power of God. As scripture says: I am going to destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of any who understand. Where are the philosophers? Where are the experts? And where are the debaters of this age? Do you not see how God has shown up human wisdom as folly? Since in the wisdom of God the world was unable to recognize God through wisdom, it was God's own pleasure to save believers through the folly of the gospel.


I believe the glory of God is witnessed in the palette of miraculous color splashing across the western sky as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. Beauty is there for any with eyes to see.

God drops a hint in every sunset, in every sunrise, nudging our consciousness toward awareness and wonder. Here is beauty, but it is a drop in the ocean of the Beauty who made all that is.

But who can see beauty in an executed man? Can anyone perceive the wisdom of God in the brutality of intentional, inhuman suffering?

The Christian claim is that the heart of God is unknown and ultimately unknowable except in the cross, in the surrender of Jesus to a death at the hands of those who were protecting their power and maintaining an orderly and servile society.

For Christians, the cross reveals the meaning of all things. But what do we really see?

A man, Jesus, dying, failing to flee the death he could see coming to him because the powers that be saw him as a threat, a potential insurrectionist.

It is always interesting that people in poorer cultures seem to understand the cross better than we who live in more developed economies. They look at Jesus hanging on his cross and ‘get it.’

I saw this in reporting trips years ago in places like El Salvador and Namibia, Nigeria and China.

The poor looked at Jesus on the cross and saw that ‘he is one of us,’ sharing the struggle of living in a difficult place and time, identifying with whose most forgotten and left out of the gold rush for this world’s goods.

They saw him take on the powers that favor the few and hold others down, challenging the powerful toward compassion and announcing an alternative kingdom where the blessings of God are shared by all so that the desire of God might become human reality.

Jesus’ death on the cross meant that he did not run from the suffering that came to him because he poured compassion on the poor and challenged those that have. He submitted to suffering as act of love for all that God loves--the poor, the rich, the haves, the have-nots, all of us.

They saw the power and glory of God in sunsets like the rest of us. But in the cross they saw the heart and desire of God to love us all into justice and life.

Pr. David L. Miller

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