Lectionary Reflections BlogThoughts on the lectionary passages for the Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany (February 2, 2014)

by Rev. Jim Ogden

The reading from I Corinthians talks about the foolishness of the cross.  (I Corinthians 1:8)  From a human point of view anyone who believes strongly enough in something to sacrifice his or her life for that cause seems to have a screw loose.  If the cause is sinners, the oppressed, justice, peace, etc., i.e., giving one’s life to better the conditions of others, it seems to some laughable.  I leave it to others to pursue the significance of the cross in terms of sin and salvation.  Whatever spin one puts on it, Paul is clear that it seems to the mainstream to be foolishness.  “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise . . .’  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? . . . God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe . . . We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles . . . For God’s foolishness is wider than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”  (Vss. 19-21, 23, 25)

There’s more with many layers of possible interpretation.  The thrust of the passage, though, suggests a contrast between the message of the Gospel and values that are prevalent in the world.

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