Wisdom and Folly: Lenten Meditation, 3/26/2013

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
March 26, 2013

In today’s reading, Paul describes God’s wisdom not as a virtuous trait, or a well of knowledge built by experience and time. Rather, it is a living thing, autonomous, personal, and at times, elusive. Even more, it is nothing less than Jesus himself: the cosmic being who formed the universe; the slain lamb who will judge the world; the humble servant who, this Friday, leads us to the foot of the cross.

As we learn to see wisdom as Christ, trusting less in our own perceptions of wisdom and foolishness, we let go of our blinding egotism. We see the world as it is, rather than merely how it relates to our own self. The tension held between wisdom and folly becomes the mechanism for our healing, bringing us to a place we could never find if we tried: humility. We see wisdom anew: alive and beautiful. Whether it lives in us or in our neighbor, we do not seek to capture it for our own, but cherish its presence as the very presence of Christ.

Our costly lesson instructs us to let go of all that we love, apart from God, of all that keeps us from emptying ourselves completely that we may be completely filled. This emptying is the paradoxical story of Christ, who keeps secret from his left hand the good works done by his right; the might of whom is displayed in its fullest glory at the moment of his greatest weakness; his royalty awarded not by conquest but rather through ultimate charity.

This paradox is the same companionship of wisdom and foolishness that is the daily drafting of our own story, a story we hear but only later understand. The interplay of wisdom and folly becomes a force as elemental as the light spoken into existence by the tongue of God—a light espoused to darkness, and setting the rhythm of our world. The tides move in and out; flowers bloom and close; we breathe out and in; we build; we rest.

Loving God,
grant us trust
that we would know you
as the keeper
of our true selves.
May we learn soon
that we find ourselves
only in finding you.