“For the message of the cross is absurdity to those who are headed for ruin,
but to us who are experiencing salvation, it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18
Having read a fair number of mystery novels in my lifetime, I am quite often the annoying person who can name, within just a few minutes of a movie starting, who the killer is, or who will end the movie with a huge revealing secret, or how the plot will unfold. Gathering clues starting with third grade novels up until my adult years, I have always liked that in books and movies, at least most of the time, the plot makes sense. It follows a formula. With only a little background, you can usually figure out how the story will unfold.
Yet for Christians, our story is one that doesn’t really make much sense at all. We proclaim that a baby born in a manger is really the Beloved of God. We tell a story of a God who is made flesh, and takes on our very human life that there may be nothing that can separate our humanness from God’s holiness. We claim a God who is not found in places of power and privilege, but on the margins, hanging out with the outcast and ignored, and finally, lifted up on a cross like a common criminal. We take hold of a promise that this life is not the entirety of the human story, but that there is something eternal that goes beyond the ending of death. Honestly, the promises we claim, the God we claim, and the stories we tell are nothing less than absurd.
Which brings us to Lent. In this season, we center around the cross, beginning with the ashes of Ash Wednesday to mark our own mortality and death, and move slowly toward the mystery of the Triduum. Throughout this season, we will encounter together absurd messages- that the cross is a sign of our salvation, that death does not have the last word, that there is hope when all seems hopeless, that God’s promises are true and real.
In this season of Lent, I invite you to enter into a spiritual practice of recognizing the absurdity of this message of salvation. Join us on Wednesday evenings to listen during our midweek Lenten worship services for the stories we will hear at the Easter Vigil, and the messages they tell us about God. Look for the signs of God’s presence on Sunday mornings in the absurdly simple earthly elements of bread, wine, and water. Receive God’s absurd promises, however you encounter them, as we travel through this season together.
On Wednesday evenings, we will gather for a simple soup and bread supper. We hope you will sign up to supply a crock pot of soup or a loaf of bread one of the weeks. Contact Claire in the church office if you have any questions. (firstname.lastname@example.org)