Scripture: Corinthians 1:18-25 (NRSV)
Just after the pilot informed us that we had reached cruising altitude and that we could move about the cabin freely, I got to a page in my book that I had read hundreds of times before. On that page in Margaret Wheatley’s Turning to One Another there are two sentences that still jump right off the paper, even now, and grab me by the gut the same way today’s passage does. The first one is: “Determination, courage, genius and foolishness all appear simultaneously when we care deeply about something.” Isn’t “foolishness” the oddest word in that sentence? When we care deeply shouldn’t we be MORE serious than usual? Doesn’t our seriousness signal to everyone that we actually DO care? What’s that “foolishness” doing in there?
It’s foolish to believe, but it nurtures my hope.
By the time I get to the end of the paragraph I remember why foolishness is in there. Wheatley quotes Bernice Johnson Reagon recalling the things that got her friends killed during the civil rights movement, “Now I sit back and look at some of the things we did, and I say, ‘What in the world came over us?’ But death had nothing to do with it…” And when I read the final sentence of the quote it still gets me every time: “When you know what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s somebody else’s job to kill you.”
It’s foolish to believe, but it sustains my discipleship.
This week’s theme has been about “overturning the tables,” and as I meditate on the theme and on today’s passage I know why those two sentences still grab me … because it’s crazy to give up control, but it’s the only thing that will make room for God in our lives. The real foolishness is to seek our own security – whether it be short-term or long-term – believing that we can pull that off without God.
It’s foolish to believe, but it saves me.
I felt the person sitting in the seat beside me start to shift uncomfortably and realized I was laughing with delight, again – like I do every time I read: “The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”