“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.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
Greetings, Fremont Family:
This morning I find myself with little to say. Sometimes that happens to me. Does it ever happen to you? Some days I feel like I have wisdom. My mind has been thinking on things, and I feel like I have a word to share. Other days I feel like I have no wisdom at all. Life has been busy, and I don’t have anything in particular to say. Today is one of those “not much to say” days. Thus, I found it almost ironic to turn to one of the scripture readings for this coming Sunday and hear the Apostle Paul talk about wisdom. In Paul’s days, the Greeks were known for their lofty wisdom. They had the ancient philosophers who were skilled in crafting argument and debate. In a single sentence, Paul “punctures” the concept of wisdom and lifts up the foolishness of the cross. The cross simply makes no sense. How is it that the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, demonstrates his power and authority by being debased and crucified? It’s completely backward and unintelligible!
Simply put, the cross still makes no sense to us. We grasp for power and control. We run from suffering, and we hate feeling weak. In all honesty, my vulnerability terrifies me. Yet, Paul invites us to actually step toward the absurdity of Jesus’ vulnerability and our own. In the death of Jesus, we are all saved. That is powerful.
On my many walks through the neighborhood, I have come to identify where various poetry poles are located. If it has been a while since I have visited one, then often I will choose specifically to go that way and see what new wisdom is available. One neighbor, in particular, loves to offer commentary on the selected poem, sharing wonder and delight at what the untrained eye might miss. So this week, I went that way. Here’s is the poem the neighbor shared:
This Morning I Pray for My Enemies
By Jo Harjo
And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.
There are only 9-lines in this poem. Each line builds upon the previous one. According to my neighbor, the power of the poem is in its simplicity. Almost like the wisdom is in its foolishness. The author, Jo Harjo, is the 23rd Poet Laureate and a writer of the Muscogee/Creek Nation. She likens the heart to the sun. The heart is what sees and knows everything. The heart holds pain and love, and the heart in its vulnerability bears the power to transform enemy into friend. That is what the power of the cross does for each one of us.
Today, I confess my lack of wisdom, and I step toward the foolishness of Jesus and the cross.
Grace and peace, Pastor Erin