1 Corinthians 1:20-31
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom…” To me these are words of liberation. How often have we heard someone say to us, “Don’t be foolish,” when we have put forth a new idea or concept? And how often it has made us feel diminished, as though our ideas or concepts are worthless. The insidiousness of it is that when those words are heard too often, we may come to feel that we too, and not just our ideas, are foolish and worthless.
However, God, who understands the value of foolishness, chooses those who are foolish to confound the wise. Were we never to be foolish, would we ever create? Creating new things requires seeing the world through foolish eyes – eyes that see things in unusual ways, that put odd concepts together in forms and shapes that have not been seen before. It is easy to label one who creates as foolish just because we don’t understand the new idea or creation. So, to preserve our own status quo, we too often label what we don’t understand as foolish, then we may justify not having to deal with it.
One of my favorite passages in scripture is from Isaiah, when God says, “Behold, I make all things new. Do you see it?” From the beginning of scripture (Genesis) to the end (Revelation) God is always making things new. Bringing to life that which has never existed, to bringing to life that which has died. Both ideas are radical and foolish in the wisdom of this world.
Yet, God’s foolishness always brings forth the gift of life, just as the foolishness of creation gives life – and a sense of joy, wonder, and a great appreciation of the ability to see, to perceive, the fabulous gift of life.
Blessed are you, O God, the giver of life, the creator of wondrous and foolish possibilities. Grant that we may be inspired to be creators, bringing new ideas to the search for justice, truth, and mercy, building community in inclusive ways, that all may see and know you, giving you thanks and praise as the source of all life. Amen.