Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good and foolish servants

Ask a fellow Christian to speak about the faithfulness of God and they could go on for quite a while—maybe even break into that oft-sung hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” But ask them to talk about the foolishness of God and I suspect they might draw back, empty of ease and ready song. It’s not a word Christians easily ascribe to the Lord. Neither is it one most use when describing those enduring persecution for their Christian witness; we much prefer words such as brave, bold, and courageous. Yet 1 Corinthians 1:25 reminds us: “[T]he foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 1:18 we read: “[T]he message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” It is in God’s foolishness, then, that the faithful find resilience, all the while aware that their acts of costly obedience and brave trust will seem illogical, rash and even silly to those who have not yet embraced the Truth.

Yesterday I read a wonderful poem by Luci Shaw in which she celebrates this call to rely on God’s "foolishness.” Those who obey this calling can go forth in confidence, knowing that their Master will not scold them for their "stupidity", but will say to these good and faithful servants "well done."

The Foolishness of God

Perform impossibilities
or perish. Thrust out now
the unseasonal ripe figs
among your leaves. Expect
the mountain to be moved.
Hate parents, friends and all
materiality. Love every enemy.
Forgive more times than seventy-
seven. Camel-like, squeeze by
into the kingdom through
the needle's eye. All fear quell.
Hack off your hand, or else,
unbloodied, go to hell.

Thus the divine unreason.
Despairing, you may cry
with earthy logic -- How?
And I, your God, reply:
Leap from your weedy shallows.
Dive into the moving water.
Eye-less, learn to see
truly. Find in my folly your
true sanity. Then, Spirit-driven,
run on the narrow way, sure
as a child. Probe, hold
my unhealed hand, and
bloody, enter heaven.

(From Polishing the Petoskey Stone)

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