The cross and wisdom
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 1st March 2020
40 Blogs of Lent: Day 5
It was a sunny but cold morning—and very windy. Storm Jorje had blown through during the night leaving me feeling a little tired, not because of the rattle of the windows, even though my bedroom window had taken the wind head-on, but because of the pain in my right arthritic foot. The combination of damp and cold is not good at all.
I arrived before the 9am service had ended, giving plenty of time to check the set up of the percussion before the soundcheck whilst the other musicians tuned.
The theme of the services in Lent is ‘Looking at the Cross.’ Chris, a theological student at Mirfield, was due to preach, but on the way North had got stuck in the floods at Shrewsbury and his car was written off. Vicar Mike ended up preaching. The sermon went something like this …
There’s a difference between seeing and looking. You see lots of things but it’s only when you are looking that you really notice things. You can look at or through glass. In the Lent sermons, we are going to try to look at the cross and also through the cross at how it will affect us.
There is a difference between Knowledge and Wisdom. Would it have been wise to predict that the team second from last in the Premier League would win the team with a record-equaling run of wins and current Champions League. Yet Watford easily won Liverpool yesterday. There was a laugh from the congregation. Vicar Mike is a Watford fan and often manages to crowbar their results into his sermons.
Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions in the light of our knowledge. The biblical writers make a difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world. Paul, a church planter, founded the church in Corinth and has heard there was danger of division there. They thought wisdom was found in debate, they desired the exotic in areas such as food and sex. God’s plan for them was somewhat different.
The purpose of crucifixion was to make an example of people. It was not just about killing someone its purpose was public humiliation. It was to suppress resistance. Crucifixion was a symbol of failure. But it is God’s way. It can be a solid rock on which to build our lives or a stumbling block to trip you up. The cross is a stumbling block for people who try to win their way to God.
In dying on the cross was Jesus just showing he loved us or was there something working there? It is not just a moral example but there is also a substitution there, Jesus taking our place.
But ow can he who knew no sin die for our sin? The cross is openly scorned. People like Richard Dawkings can be very scathing about it. But the foolishness of God is greater than the greatest wisdom of the world.
The world tells you that you need fame, money or possessions to get along: This is foolishness to God.
At the cross we find transformation. This is where God’s justice is met, his wrath is satisfied.
This is the wisdom of God.