“But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles…” (1 Cor 1:23)

Our itching ears want to hear
The latest methodology.
We long to discover
The newest novelty, the most innovative technique.
We clamour for metamorphosis,
Craving newness,
Searching for the discovery of
Something revolutionary to turn our world upside-down.

And then we discover Jesus.
We long to find in Him
A raging warrior,
A powerful ally,
A magic healer,
A super-hero.
But instead we discover paradox.

We walk down the lonely path
To Calvary.
To death.
To abandonment.
To a man of sorrows, familiar with grief.
And we discover
The way to life is through death,
The way to victory is through surrender;
The portals that lead to hope
Are edged with the black trim of death,
And the way to life is called love.

Words that seem so insignificant litter this way:
Love, hope, forgiveness, trust.
“Is that it?”
We stand in disillusioned disbelief.
We’d expected more:
A magic formula, a secret recipe,
A stunning farrago of fantasy.
We’d wanted the Hollywood version,
And all we get is a
Crucified Saviour,
Known by the scars?
And these weapons that
‘are not of this world’,
That’s all we have?
That’s it?

Offended by the Cross,
Stumbled by the Scandalon,
We are sidelined by the enemy’s seductive lure
That promises peace through prosperity,
That teaches subjugation is the path to fulfilment,
That elevates fear and ridicules faith.
But if we choose the narrow way,
The path leads to freedom.
Paradox opens our eyes.
The centrepiece of Heaven is the Lamb who was slain.
The first shall be last.
The servant shall be master.
The dead shall live.

The way of living offered us
Is wide and spacious and free,
Tardis-like in being much bigger on the inside
Than it appears on the outside.
We can be squinty-eyed in disbelief
Or wide-eyed in wonder.
The choice is ours.
The consequences eternal.