“For the message about 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, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (I Corinthians 1:18-9)
Each day of Holy Week there are 4 sets of verses, one from the Old Testament, one from the Psalm, one from the New Testament and one from the Gospels. Occasionally (and sometimes more often than that) scripture passages are repeated, is the one from today. I cannot tell you exactly when, but I can often get a sense of when I have spoken on a particular fairly recently.
It may be “foolishness” to repeat scripture passages over and over again, and so maybe the entire Revised Common Lectionary is such foolishness as it repeats itself every three years.
“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe” (Verses 20-21).
After all, what new can be learned from something that has been read and repeated so often? Is it not foolishness to go over and over again something that is old and well-known?
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (Verses 22-25)
And what about Lent itself? Why acknowledge and observe it each year? We know what happened and what the results of that time in Jesus’ life. Why put ourselves through the agony and angst of repeating that awful time in the life of Jesus and his disciples?
“Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.” (Verses 26-29)
The thing is, beloved reader, we HAVE to repeat these verses and re-live these events because we tend to forget about their impact and relevance to our lives. If we heard the good news of salvation and redemption for ourselves, set aside our sinful ways and always & forever lived as God directed and Jesus exemplified, we would not have to repeat it. But we don’t get it right.
We do not like to think of ourselves this way. We would like to be “wise”, we would like to think we follow God and Christ very well, and do not need to repeat and relearn lessons of the past. But we do slip up, make poor choices, allow our own agenda to get in the way. You see however, God uses this to show that we, and all of creation, are in continual and daily need of God. God does not use this to belittle us or embarrass us, but to draw us closed to the Divine. God’s desire to show compassion, caring and love is so great that God delights at teaching us again, and welcoming us back to the God-self.
“He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (Verse 31)
So here we are, at the second day of Holy Week, thinking again of God’s gift to the world and our need of it. And how we, as foolish and frail as we are, are actually a part of God’s plan to reconcile the world to the God-self. Selah!