Today's Lectionary Text
1 Corinthians 4:10-13
We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
In 2018, April 1 was Easter Sunday – and there were quite a few jokes making the rounds (at least for clergy) about the combination of Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day.
There are numerous places in scripture that talk of wisdom and/or fools in relation to faith. One that I like to read is the text I selected for today. Those who believe include those who are fools for Christ and those who are wise in Christ. The rest of this passage continues the theme: believers include those who are honored and those who are despised as well as those who are weak and those who are strong. I also like the next part of the passage and consider the words to be particularly appropriate during the Lenten season of remembrance and spiritual preparation: “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly.” (NRSV)
While the first part of the passage talks about or describes our state in faith, the next part describes our actions in faith – actions that reflect the love and grace we have received from God through Christ. These are not easy actions. I know all too well that I must be very centered (mentally, emotionally and spiritually) in order to respond in a spirit of love and care – or to respond with blessing when reviled, with endurance when persecuted and with kindness when slandered.
While I would prefer to focus on the “success” stories (when I responded as Paul describes), I am all too aware of the times I responded in ways that did not reflect the spirit of Christian love. I won’t go into details for either but instead invite you to join me on the continuing journey of doing the work – engaging in prayer, study, self-reflection, accountability, worship, service and more – that is part of living faithfully. After all, this is not easy – which may be the most foolish part of my faith life. Who else but a fool for Christ would work this hard to be faithful?
For now, I will celebrate the times I have been wise in faith – and the times that my foolishness for Christ has opened a door for faithful conversation.
-Rev. Karen Jeffcoat
Registrar, Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry
Prayer for Reflection
May I be both foolish (for Christ) and wise (in Christ) as I live my life of faith. May I respond with kindness, endurance and blessing all of my days. This I pray through Christ my Lord and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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