We continue our series titled Somos del Señor following the Revised Common Lectionary and sourced from Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Sermons in this series can be found at this link.
This week’s text takes a number of twists and turns and seems to conflate wisdom and foolishness. Could it be possible that Paul is suggesting that we are called to foolishness? If that’s how we read this section of the text, perhaps a call to foolishness is not intended to diminish us as people but instead to remind us of the source of our strength and wisdom. If we can find a way to set aside our arrogance and self-aggrandizement, we can focus on God’s call to unite as the body of Christ and serve in mission together—to be the church!
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (CEB)
18The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved. 19It is written in scripture: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will reject the intelligence of the intelligent. 20Where are the wise? Where are the legal experts? Where are today’s debaters? Hasn’t God made the wisdom of the world foolish? 21In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching. 22Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, which is a scandal to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. 24But to those who are called—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. 25This is because the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26Look at your situation when you were called, brothers and sisters! By ordinary human standards not many were wise, not many were powerful, not many were from the upper class. 27But God chose what the world considers foolish to shame the wise. God chose what the world considers weak to shame the strong. 28And God chose what the world considers low-class and low-life—what is considered to be nothing—to reduce what is considered to be something to nothing. 29So no human being can brag in God’s presence. 30It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous and holy, and he delivered us. 31This is consistent with what was written: The one who brags should brag in the Lord!
Consider these questions:
- In what ways is the cross “foolishness” to the world?
- In what ways do we experience the cross of Christ as the power of God?
Post-Worship Update on 2/4
Audio from the sermon can be heard below. Video has not yet been posted as of this edit, but if/when it is available it can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s message was framed through the idea that all persons of faith are called to some kind of ministry in the world. This may be foolish to think that we are all empowered, that we all have the gifts necessary for God’s work in the world. But Paul reminds us later in this very same letter that we are not all gifted in the same way. And if we are not gifted in the same way, we are not called to do the same thing.
With this in mind, can we wrestle not only with the idea that we—even we who feel least capable or worthy—are called to participate in God’s work? And in this wrestling, can we also ask an even deeper question: what is it that I—individually and uniquely—am called to do?
Consider these questions:
- What does it feel like to be called? With this question, remember that every call story in the Bible is different, so perhaps it’s ok if our own call feels unique.
- If you have felt a sense of call, how have you responded? Have you run away like Jonah? Have you made excuses like Moses? Have you responded immediately like James and John? Why do you think you responded (or are responding) in this way?
- If you have not experienced a sense of call, how can you open your heart and mind to listen for God to speak or communicate in some way?