Tuesday, March 18, 2008


For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1)
The message we proclaim remains radically counter-cultural, calling into question our society's cherished values: power, wealth, consumerism, greed, vanity, lust, wrath. To say that the path of true power is the path of love that serves the other is to utter what the world still cannot understand, and in its incomprehension loudly denies.

Setting aside the issue of illegal and immoral invasion and occupation, and all the sundry blasphemies of preemptive war, suppose that the United States had seriously bent its energies toward the welfare of the Iraqi people--providing security, establishing civil order so the average citizen could walk the streets without constant fear; enlisting the Iraqi populace in the rebuilding of their infrastructure (instead of foreign contractors) and thus giving the Iraqis a way to earn a living while investing their labor in their own well-being; tracking the billions of dollars so they could actually rebuild the country instead of vanishing into the sands; making clean water and reliable electricity a priority. But no, our energies were bent on oil and the enrichment of contractors.

That rant aside, in Holy Week (and every day) we need to look at the roots of folly and evil within. The Cross exposes my own illusions and wickedness. What signs do I seek to satisfy my need for the spectacular and the overwhelming (or for the meeting of my own desires)? What wisdom do I insist on so that the world will make sense in my very limited terms?

God cuts through my crap by planting the Cross squarely before me.

If I have any sense left, I behold the Cross and shut up.

And let go of my own demands.

And receive grace.

Then they came to Jerusalem. And Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and saying, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. (Mark 11:15-19)
How do we today make all God's houses truly to be houses of prayer for all nations?

How broad is our embrace?

Whom have we robbed?

Will we be driven out by Jesus?

Lord, have mercy.

Romanian Orthodox Byzantine Chant - The Lamentations

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
--the BB

1 comment:

Paul said...

Raven˜ sent me an e-mail with further details but I want to share with y'all this much:

That musical clip from the Romanian church is truly beautiful. Did you realize that it isn't the Lamentations of Jeremiah used in Tenebrae, but rather the special stanzas sung between the verses of Psalm 119?

I didn't know that. Now we all do.