Luke 15: 8-10
1 Corinthians 1:18-24
Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
Last week we talked about belonging, that deepest of human needs.
Paul, the great early church builder described himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God.” His letter was addressed “to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called t be saints.”
As soon as we begin to truly follow Jesus, to be drawn in from the edges of the curious crowd, as soon as we say, “yes, I’m yours Lord," we begin to align our hearts with what was real all along. God becomes our identity.
The problem for the Corinthians was they already had these other identities, other ways of belonging. Its one thing to switch loyalties, its still another to be utterly transformed by the renewing of our minds, as Paul wrote to the Roman saints.
When “I owe my allegiance to my patron” became "I owe my allegiance to the one who baptized me, __________”, old patterns were being re-enacted.
Following Christ can feel at first like that old Johnny Mercer song:
(words & music by j. mercer - r. bloom)
Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread
And so I come to you my love
My heart above my head
Though I see the danger there
If there's a chance for me
Then I don't care, oh-oh-oh-oh
Really living as though we belong to Christ Jesus upsets our common sense.
Christ’s wisdom, what looks so foolish is expressed in the Body of Christ, when we activate the spiritual gifts God gives us. We begin to recognize Christ’s uncommon sense when our human will works with Holy Spirit’s way.
The church is a kind of kindergarten in which we practice new order life in the midst of our brokenness. David Buttrick, The Mystery and the Passion
Christ’s wisdom, the wisdom that seems so foolish,
is characterized by simplicity and by vulnerability.
Consider the woman who lost one coin. Not many of us would spend hours searching the nooks and crannies of our home for one lost coin. We may think, “it will turn up,” (if we notice its gone) or “there are more where that came from.”
Time is too valuable to spend looking for that one of many.
We’d look like a fool!
Last week’s gospel text, Luke 14:25-33, reminded us that we hate to look like fools,
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'……
Its a pun of a parable,
because if we follow through by following Jesus
that will almost certainly mean looking like a fool from the world’s perspective.
“The world” is the part of us that expends its resources grabbing every minute of life, death is the enemy. Accumulates money without noticing what the piles push out of our lives. We have so much that a penny doesn’t really matter much.
But God starts small
looking around for someone
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.
God sees unshepherded Sheep, taking turns pretending to be Shepherd. ……
Don’t they know anything, all these impostors? Don’t they know they can’t get away with treating people like a fast-food meal over which they’re too busy to pray?
Night is coming for them, and nightmares, for God takes the side of the lost and the least.
Is there anyone around to save the people?
Yes. God is around;
God turns life around. Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.
Jesus followers find life in giving up life; become reconciled with death
In weakness we find strength, in loss we find love.
We are the people saved by the crucified Christ
and sanctified by the Resurrection Spirit
by living as though God’s kingdom is so close we could reach out and touch it.
So with yourselves, wrote Paul to the Corinthians, since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.….When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
(words & music by j. mercer - r. bloom)
Fools rush in, where wise men never go
But wise men never fall in love
So how are they to know,
When we met, I felt my life begin
So open up your heart and let
This fool rush in
"….what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Karen L Munson
United Methodist Pastor & Liturgical Artist