One of the dangers, I think, of growing up in a Christian environment and being a Christian for many years is that it makes it too easy to forget how “nonsensical” our faith is — at least from a “rational” and worldly perspective. Think of it. We believe that greatness is found in serving others and that the path to real riches is to give our stuff away. We declare that when somebody harms you the best response is to bless them rather than to seek revenge and — perhaps most outlandish of all — that the great and powerful God who created the universe is most perfectly revealed in an impoverished, itinerant preacher from 2000 years ago who happened to be executed as a criminal.
Of course, after many years of repetition all of this seems perfectly logical and hardly surprising (although — let’s be honest — accepting its validity and living in the way it commends are two entirely different things). And yet, we must never forget that — in spite of all our scholarly commentary and well-reasoned apologetics — it doesn’t really make any sense…and maybe that’s the point. When we couldn’t “figure a way up” to God, God created a way to “reach down” to us. And so, the grace — and the glory — are His alone.
Today’s New Testament lesson puts it like this:
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. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-31)
May we experience new wonder today, as we contemplate the senseless, saving truth. And may we live like people who are foolish enough to believe it.