THE WORD OF THE CROSS
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:17-18)
St. Paul had received an excellent education, and possessed much “eloquent wisdom.” But when he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul was first made entirely blind. In the process of “being saved,” he first had to lose the capacity to see as he previously had, merely on the basis of man-made wisdom, in order to embrace Christ, the power and Wisdom of God. This new Wisdom centered on “the word of the cross,” which turns many world-wisely assumptions upside-down. St. Paul was able to embrace this word, and to “see” in a new way, precisely because he stepped onto the path of “being saved,” having left the path on which he was “perishing.”
Today I note to myself that both these roads, of “salvation” or “perishing” are a life-long process, and a choice I make on a daily basis. The process called “salvation” has a two-fold meaning: 1. Being healed or made whole (through communion with God and acceptance of His gifts); and 2. Being made safe, being “recovered” (from a danger, which is sin, i.e. the misdirection of my will). And “perishing” means the opposite of all that; it’s the rejection of and separation from God’s healing communion, and ultimately means being “lost” to God, to self, and others.
Which road will it be today? That depends, as the Apostle reminds me, on my attitude toward “the word of the cross.” Let me take it up today, and carry it with His power; with the meekness of the Lamb who was led.