A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross – Day NINE

Chagall Blue Windows, St. Stephen’s Church, Mainz, Germany
(I believe these were some of the ones done by his students, after his death.)
1 Corinthians 3:16-23, The Message:
You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.

 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. 

Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. 
What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. 
It’s written in Scripture,

   He exposes the chicanery of the chic.
   The Master sees through the smoke screens
      of the know-it-alls.

 I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, 

and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.
_______
If I let myself, I could begin to feel ever-so-slightly smug and superior to those Corinthian Christians.
They’re just a mess.
There’s sexual immorality going on, right in the congregation.
They apparently like to brag about themselves and how smart they are.
They insist on choosing sides – playing up their favorite teachers and insisting that he/she is the best

They can’t seem to keep all the teaching straight – they forget about certain truths when it’s convenient to do so

They just don’t get the whole Jesus scene, do they? (she said, condescendingly.)

Gulp. 

Ummm…I’ve just read over this list – and every single thing on it has been true in one congregation or another that I’ve been a part of.

And way more of it than I like to admit is also true of me.
Like…

An unhealthy spirit of competition.
An oh-so-convenient forgetting of some things when  remembering them might be tough…
     or embarrassing,
     or frustrating,
     or scary,
     or completely counter-intuitive.
An entrenched belief that intelligence is what matters, 
     that education wins the day and proves the point, 
     that understanding things with my mind is much more important than living them with my life.

Okay. I’m feeling embarrassed, maybe just a wee bit more humble. 
So…maybe I’m ready to read these words again, a little more slowly this time.
And I discover that the admonitions in this short selection of verses are ringing in my head, with chimes of 
     validation, 
     agreement and 
     regret.

Because I’ve certainly done my share of vandalizing this temple of mine:
     too much food, 
     too little exercise, 
     too little sleep.

And I do try to keep up with the times – yes, I do. 
I try to be at least minimally well-read, 
     to be able to support whatever position I might hold
     on any given subject,
     quoting chapter-and-verse of the latest ‘in’ guru.
And the very LAST thing I ever want to do is look the fool.
Heaven forbid!
Ah. That’s exactly it, isn’t it.
Heaven does not forbid my looking like a fool. 
In fact, it seems that heaven encourages my looking like a fool.
Ouch.
I really don’t like the sound of that at all.
What will people think?
How will I survive the embarrassment, the humiliation?
Here’s how: by remembering.
Specifically – remembering that everything I need to know, everything I need to live – is already mine, as a gift. 

A gift.

“…the world, life, death, the present, the future.”
It’s already mine.
Imagine that!
On second thought,
     in light of this truth,
     maybe looking the fool isn’t such a bad thing after all. 

_____

Lord God Almighty, may I consistently live the life of the holy fool, one who is freed from the burden of over-caring about the opinions of others; free to live the Jesus life, to love the Jesus love, to whoop and holler or to weep and rail, all at the gentle guiding of your Spirit. Help me always to remember that the life I live – and the death I die; the present I inhabit and the future I will discover – are all mine by your gracious gift. 

Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it’s all about.



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Comments

  1. I never saw the “chicanery of the chic” before. That just gave me a giggle. And a pause. I kind of wanted to run away when you started talking about my temple. All of this applies to me. I’ve often played the fool–but not often enough the fool for Him. What the world calls stupid, God calls smart.

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