SERMON TITLE: “Meditations on the Cross: The Power and Wisdom of God”
SERMON TEXT: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 6, 2022, at First UMC
Some of you came to the church on Wednesday to get your ashes. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which, in the Christian tradition, is a season of repentance and spiritual preparation leading up to Easter. During this season of Lent, we remember Jesus’ time in the wilderness when he was tempted and went without food for 40 days, and maybe we ourselves give up some food or habits in order to better focus our attention on Christ. We remember how diligently and selflessly Jesus ministered to the sick and the poor. We remember how Jesus drew the circle wide to include women, children, and those who were considered outcasts and sinners. We also recall how Jesus’ teaching and acts of inclusivity were perceived as threats to those in power and how that conflict came to a head with Jesus’ death on a cross.
If Jesus’ story had ended with the cross, we probably wouldn’t be Christians today. The story would have been too sad to hold human attention and devotion for 2000 years. Fortunately, the story of Christ went on to include Easter and Pentecost too. But at this time of the year, we aren’t yet ready for the joys of Easter and the excitement of Pentecost. Before we get there, we need to do some careful soul searching. We need to recognize where we have fallen short and repent of the sins that get in between us and Jesus. We need to practice some spiritual disciplines to fortify our courage. And we need to spend some time considering Jesus’ tremendous sacrifice. What did the cross mean for him? What has it meant for Christians through the ages? What does the cross mean for us today?
So, over these weeks leading up to Good Friday, we’re going to look at the cross from different angles. If you have a cross at home that hangs on your wall, or a cross necklace that you wear, I invite you to spend some time during Lent contemplating that cross. Here in worship, we’re going to use a variety of scriptures to engage in some “Meditations on the Cross.” Today we begin this spiritual discipline with First Corinthians, chapter one. Let’s take a look at this text and see what the Apostle Paul means when he describes the cross as “the power and wisdom of God.”