Friday, October 21, 2016
The Strange Things That We Do
For the word of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved,
is is the power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18
One of the things that the world can't understand is the church's obsession for the cross and with good reason. There's nothing glamorous about a cross. As a matter of fact, the words "horrific, torture, humiliation and cursed" are better descriptors. I never understood why Madonna (the singer, not the...well, you know...) always wanted to wear crosses, since she was not a Christian and her religion of choice was an offshoot of Judaism, which rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Why is wearing a cross fashionable for her? Why is it fashionable for anyone outside of Christianity? It's not a symbol of beauty or honor, but rather, to the world it is a symbol of humiliation and punishment.
Paul tells us in I Corinthians, for those who are dying, the cross is foolishness. For believers, however, the cross is the power of God. The depth of the riches of the truth of the cross are impossible to understand without the Holy Spirit. The world doesn't stand a chance in trying to figure it out on their own, and yet they will still wear them around their necks, tattoo them on their bodies, dangle them from their ears and make dresses out of them.
But the church...we love the cross. We get the cross. We understand our need for the cross. And we are so thankful for the cross.
Last winter, we were planning out the Good Friday and Easter services, including talking about staging. We had an apple theme, drawing a connect to the death that came from the disobedience in the garden, to the new life we have in Christ through the cross, so we put this huge cross in the center of the stage and filled it, first with apple cores from the walk-thru, and then with fresh, whole green apples. Do you remember?
On the morning of Good Friday, I called our worship pastor and threw out a suggestion. We have this white sash that hangs on the cross on Easter, but this past year, we didn't take it down, so it had hung there for a year. I had an idea to enhance the cross for Easter morning. So we took down the sash, and after the Good Friday walk-thru was finished, we decorated the cross. When I say "we", I mean Pastor Chris and the ladder.
As I stepped back to see the finished product, it struck me how Christians do the strangest things. Wrapping vines and flowers on a 14 foot cross, a symbol of suffering and death, risking life and limb, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But then Easter morning came and the gasps that were heard when the body of Christ entered the sanctuary were actually audible. And trust me, at that moment, it made sense.
I know the things we do as believers are foolishness to the world and I'm okay with that. Every time I get a strange look because of what I am saying or what I am reading or humming or giving or wearing or choosing to do with my life, it is a reminder that I am an alien in this world, that my home is with the Lord. I am also so thankful for the church, not the building but the people. It makes being strange not so lonely.