Paul writes, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18) I think it is fair to say that no one wants to look like the fool. As humans, we would much rather be the expert than the novice. We want to excel in knowledge and to prove our wisdom to others (yes even in the church!). Yet Paul, in writing to the church in Corinth keeps urging them, and us, to be foolish.
If you think about it, the observance of Holy Week highlights the foolishness of our faith. In a world where we like to portray Instagram-perfect lives to gain power and respect, Christians spend a week reflecting on how Jesus failed to live into earthly ideas of perfection, power, and authority. We remember that on the cross Jesus was made to look foolish in the eyes of those gathered. He was humiliated and yet we point to this as a pivotal moment in faith.
I once heard comedian Stephen Colbert asked about his faith in an interview. Specifically, the interviewer wanted to know what Colbert (known for his foolishness) thought it meant to be a fool for Christ. Colbert described it this way, “to be wrong in society, or wrong according to our time, but right according to our conscience, as guided by the Holy Spirit.” It is hard to be wrong, it is hard to be viewed as the fool, but I wonder if in the days ahead we might let go of needing to live up to the standards of this world and instead focus on the cross as foolish as it may seem.