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1 Corinthians 1:18

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.

A red carpet world

It’s hard to convey how ridiculous it sounded in the ancient world to say that one who had been crucified was the anointed of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the revelation of the divine. We are not even an honor-shame culture, but we, too, would think it impossible for a convicted terrorist, stripped and powerless, to be an agent of heaven, let alone the savior of the world. “Savior of the whole world” is a title that belongs to heroic emperors not disgraced and dead peasants.

To a world that values power, wealth, honor, fame, virility and beauty, the cross is foolishness. In a red carpet world, a broken and condemned man offers no honor or success. He cannot further your career, grant you fame, or make you successful. He is powerless; how can he benefit me?

But to those who value mercy, compassion, justice, truth, fidelity and the sharing of bread – to those who are “being saved”, who are awaiting a world free from violence and fear, hunger and poverty, who are taking their own first steps into a world healed and made whole – to these the word of the cross is “the power of God.” It proclaims that all heaven is on the side of fidelity. It proclaims that all the wealth and might of Rome cannot halt the day that is coming. It declares that death itself is powerless before sacrificial love. This word of the cross is the power of God bringing light and life.

It’s fun to watch the red carpet at the Oscars where all the glitterati come out in diamonds and sparkle. They may own the world, but the creation belongs to the one who died and rose. And the honored in the age that is dawning are those who are far from the red carpet, handing out sandwiches and blankets to the homeless: the hors d’oeuvres of the feast to come.

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