Lectionary blogging: What does the cross say to you?

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:17-18, NIV)

What does the cross say to you?

Billy Graham shared his answer late last year.

In 1 Corinthian 1:27-30, Paul appears to offer his answer:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Cor 1:27-30, NIV)

Charles Wesley reportedly said he would trade all his hymns for Isaac Watts’ “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” which says this about the message of the cross:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

I wonder what we hear as the message of the cross.


2 thoughts on “Lectionary blogging: What does the cross say to you?

  1. The Wesley boys and other 18th century hymnists had soul-gripping convictions regarding the atoning exchange or substitutionary transaction worked out on the cross. Try requesting hymns like this for an Orders retreat. Been there, done that…

    1. I find it interesting which Wesley hymns get sung at mass gatherings. Or I should say which ones do not get sung.

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