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…1 Corinthians 1:27-28
This weekend we will jump into the second to last section of the Lord’s Prayer. It is, in fact, the last section of the scriptural versions of the prayer. However, since the Protestant church uses the doxology at the end, we will take one extra week to discuss it.
This Sunday’s line is “deliver us from evil.” As one of our members wisely reminded me this week, evil is pernicious and insidious. It distorts even our best of intentions – the Reformers would be so proud.
And we all know the road that is paved with good intentions.
Much of this line from the Lord’s Prayer has to do with God delivering us from the evil that can bubble up within ourselves. And among those things that always rises to the surface is the danger of worldly ambition.
The passage above, from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, speaks quite eloquently to a cardinal point of God’s purpose in Jesus Christ. You see, while the world was focused on power to dominate and military might, wisdom to subdue and ways to keep the subjugated low – God sent a helpless, little child. A child, born in near poverty levels to a barely wed teenage mother. A child whose family had to run for their lives to a foreign land when those in power threatened violence. A child who became a man, a carpenter and a preacher, who dispensed mercy with reckless abandon and spoke truth to power. Who claimed the poor and oppressed and condemned the rich and the mighty for their callous devotion to the status quo. Who showed us God’s true power: love. Love that chooses to serve. Love that fights for justice. Love that accepts death to display its immensity in the face of the world’s depravity.
Jesus, and God’s purposes throughout the scriptural witness, are a blatant critique on what the world calls power. It is not about all the things we think we know to get ahead – it is about knowing the one thing that matters. It is not about dominating might – it is about lifting up the downtrodden. It is not about those who take positions of authority to wield them – it is about those who have none and have been forgotten finally finding their voice.
That is the power of the cross. That is the God we serve. A God that is truly all-powerful and yet chooses to display and live that power as love, not might. When we get so focused on finding worldly power and keeping it, well, then we’re giving into our darker side and losing track of who God is truly calling us to be.
We are to be servants of the Lamb who told us that when we serve the last and the least, the lost and the obliterated, then we are serving Christ. Though we cannot ever fully be free of the bubbling of evil around us and within, we can always chose to point ourselves in the correct direction. To start moving towards God’s purposes. And that is the choice we have to make every single day.
Blessings, Pastor Janie