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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Foolishness

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. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” I Corinthians 1:18-19




As a kid, I remember watching the cartoon movie of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour."  My favorite song when I saw the movie was Paul McCartney's "The Fool on the Hill.  


Day after day, along on the hill

The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still

But nobody wants to know him

They can see that he's just a fool

And he never gives an answer...


But the fool on the hill

Sees the sun going down

And the eyes in his head

See the world spinning round."


From that moment on, the word fool never meant to me what it seems like it was supposed to mean to everybody else.  Paul McCartney would say that the fool was "a solitary figure who is not understood by others, but is actually wise."  That was the sense I got when I heard the song.


And perhaps, even without realizing it, Paul was latching onto that other Paul and what he had to say about foolishness.  Perhaps something in him caught onto God's foolishness confounding our wisdom.


Jesus died with most of the people around him - the great, the worldly, the powerful - believing he was a fool.  Pilate certainly must have thought he was a fool.  Only a fool would not take every chance he was given to free himself from such a horrible death.


Only a fool would allow himself to be put on a cross - on a hill above the garbage heap in town - to die an excruciating death.


But our fool on the hill showed that God's wisdom is life in the midst of suffering.  That the cross on that hill was the power of God.  That whatever we choose to throw out, throw away, destroy, God can bring to new life.


That God's foolishness trumps our wisdom - our proverbs, our pithy sayings, our homespun homilies, our self help suggestions, our adages, advice, and aphorisms. 


The cross on the hill showed us God's wisdom, and while we may in many ways still be trying to answer the questions: 'why' and 'how,' in the midst of it all, God says simply "you cannot know me by your wisdom, but only by faith."



God of all, help me to see the wisdom of the cross in the midst of my own foolishness, and thank you for the life it points to.  Amen.



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