Lent 2012: 4.3 — Wholly and Holy Other Than

Throughout Advent, we posted blogs each week based on the Lectionary Readings for the previous Sunday. It was truly an awesome experience to travel through Advent with the universal church by praying, meditating, and responding to those texts. We loved it so much, thought we’d do it again throughout Lent.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.  As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters?  God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.  Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.  It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven.  And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.  So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

But to those who are called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

— 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NLT)

Paul knows how to ruin a party.  It seems that just when you think you have things figured out, Paul steps in and says, “Uh, wait just a sec.”  Today’s text is no exception to that rule.

What some consider wise, others consider foolish.  What some consider up, others call it down.

First, I believe it’s important that we don’t confuse “wisdom” with “intelligence.”  I don’t believe that Paul is saying that we shouldn’t be educated.  Rather, Paul is saying, “don’t think that intelligence is equal with wisdom.”  Different horses of different colors.  Wisdom requires action.  It is both knowledge and application, and it all starts with a reverent awe of God (Proverbs 1:7).

What Paul is saying here is that the way of the Kingdom is not explained within the realm of man’s understanding.  Kingdom works differently.  It has it’s own set of rules that do not correlate to the rules of the natural.  It is both wholly and holy other than.

Life in the Kingdom takes a renewed mind.  We can’t think of things in the same way that we used to think of them.  Because things don’t work the same way.  In the Kingdom of God there is a different set of rules, because we have a different King.  We have a King who operates His own timetable, His own economy, His own medical system.  Things that aren’t explainable in natural terms happen.  Fear becomes love, sickness becomes healing (and not always as defined by the natural), water becomes wine, poverty becomes wealth, and orphans become sons.

It is wholly and holy other than.

And that’s why we shouldn’t worry so much when people wonder at our “strange existence.”  Kingdom just works different, and it rarely makes sense to the natural man.

As we continue our journey toward the Cross and the Resurrection, we are called to live differently–to be different.  We’re called to live between the “now and the not yet”.  Kingdom has come and Kingdom is yet to be.  And there’s the up-is-down part in all this.  While we’re called to bring and be Kingdom in every situation.  We are called to live a life that is different.

We are called to be wholly and holy other than.

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