Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Sunday in Lent

Psalm 63  Deuteronomy 8: 1-10  1 Corinthians 1:17-31  Mark 2:18-22

1 Corinthians 1: 17-31
. . . For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. . .  . But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Jesus brought about what is arguably the greatest subversion in human history. He set God’s message of love and kindness up against the natural law of survival of the fittest. From the time we began acting differently from the other primates until about 2100 years ago, it was quite clear who was right, and who was wrong; who was wise, and who was foolish; who was strong, and who was weak. In only 2000 years, the paradigm has shifted, and the old standard no longer applies.

It is easy to look around and think that the world has not changed, that violence and oppression still win the day. But the fact that we are even outraged is a sign that violence and oppression of our neighbor are no longer acceptable. The newspapers only make money by publishing what is exceptional; between the lines is the message that most of us are not like that, and do not want to be like that.

Even where no one has heard of the Gospel, its message of love, forgiveness, and raising up our neighbor pierces through the misery like a beacon. The message may not have been carried by missionaries. It may have come through the newspapers, or returning travelers telling of wondrous cities where a law rules that seeks equity and justice for all. It may have come in the form of UNICEF workers or the Blue Berets—the United Nations itself is an expression of humankind’s desire to cling to the new paradigm, independent of religion.

Thanks be to God, who makes all things new.

— Jonathan Hine

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