1 Corinthians 1:20-25Not long ago we celebrated Christmas, God's startling birth among us as one of us; now, since we've again begun the season of Lent, the weeks leading up to the Feast of Resurrection, Paul the theologian explains another dimension of God's paradoxical self-revelation to First Church at Corinth. God chooses what humanity, with its incessant sensation-seeking and credential-questing never could imagine: God chooses the cross supremely to show God's judgment, mercy and love for all creation!
20 Where is the smart stuff of this world? Where are the world's heavy thinkers?...21 Since in God's wisdom the world did not know God through their worldly kinds of smarts, it pleased God through foolish proclamation to save anyone who trusts Him. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks crave wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ the crucified one, a scandal to the Jews and moronic nonsense to the gentiles: 24 But to those called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ – God's living dynamic power and God's kind of wisdom. 25 Because God's foolishness is wiser than humanity's intellectual cleverness, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength!
Our scriptures – and Jesus! – are about the unmediated, unqualified presence of God absolutely everywhere, absolutely all the time, even in darkness, despair, pain, death and loss. Because of this, Paul of Tarsus endeavored to preach only Christ crucified, to proclaim the outrage of the fullness of God's power, sovereignty and glory most completely revealed in the scandal of the human, Jesus of Nazareth, dying defenseless on a cross of shame.
From Calvary Hill, Jesus reigns as sovereign Lord in vulnerability, brokenness and embrace—the ruler whose throne is a cross of judgment, but also a cross of mercy and forgiveness. And yes, the cross of Christ is one of the signs the Church displays to the world of the One who freely offers himself to the world despite betrayal and desertion…
We Christians live under the cross; we live under the judgment, mercy and grace of God taking upon Himself in Christ Jesus the world's sin, brokenness and burdens, and without the dis-grace and horror of the cross of the One crucified on Good Friday, there could be no Eastered, Risen One! The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens and inspires us, the Church of Jesus Christ, to be a people both crucified and risen, a people of the cross and of the power of God to new life! May we see; may we be!
Postscript:On second or third thought, that probably was before we started discussing Bound to Be Free, but it definitely was on the Yahoo! Confessing Christ discussion forum. Here's the Confessing Christ site.
As one of the participants in the online discussion of Reinhard Hütter's Bound to Be Free observed (paraphrased), "When the Church gets drunk on anything other than Christ crucified, the Church has fallen off the wagon!"