Picture credit to Jenny Eather.
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” I Corinthians 1:21
Who would think that foolishness and preaching and saving and believing would all be lumped together? And who would think that lumping them all together like that would be pleasing to You, God? What a funny combination. Who would of thought of something like that? And maybe that’s the point. Maybe no one else in this world would have thought to lump these things together and that’s the uniqueness of You. You choose to do things in a way that we wouldn’t do. Why? Why do You do things in a way we wouldn’t?
What if You choose to do things in so contrary a way that it just stands out like a beacon or a strobe light saying, “This is of God! This can only be of God! No man could or would do it this way!” But why? I remember my mom trying to teach me about parallelograms once when I was a kid. I just couldn’t understand the definition. No matter how much she retold me or pushed me to understand, it just wouldn’t sink in. I saw it there in front of me. I saw the picture. But I just couldn’t put the words with the concept. I suppose all the wisdom was right there in front of me but my brain just couldn’t process it all together correctly. I couldn’t get it that night, no matter how disappointed my mom was. I just couldn’t know it.
Maybe the problem is, that for everyone of us, we don’t have in us the power to really grasp the wisdom of God. Maybe, on our own, we see creation and we see things happening around us and we feel and are aware of things in our hearts, but we’re like that kid trying to understand “parallelogram.” It just doesn’t come together on it’s own. We think we know so much but really, we see and we hear, and we read, but in our own understanding, we get it all or mostly wrong.
Now, my mom got angry with me for not understanding. I suppose that’s why my mom was not a teacher by profession or calling. But God, You are the Teacher of teachers! Instead of getting angry with us, (well, it’s not that You don’t get angry, since You have every right, but You choose a better way for us!) You went with joy and found a way that pleased You to teach us.
What is that way? Preaching. That’s it? That’s all? Preaching? Really?
Kerugma- preaching. It’s a noun. It’s a message or proclomation. But it can also be about the content, which would be the message, or it can be about the act, the action of preaching or proclaiming itself. It’s Hebrew equivalent is the word qol. It means to call aloud and is used for voice or sounds anywhere from God’s voice to the sound of chariots. It’s something in action. What ramifications does that have about what Paul is saying here? Does that mean that this preaching isn’t just about listening or hearing but Paul is trying to say that You, Lord, designed the message for doing and not only acting upon but acting in?
What does that tell me about You, Lord? Well, I know that You are what You say. Therefore, what does that say about me? If I am Yours, if I am in You, then I ought to be what You say too. I ought to resemble You. Maybe that looks absurd to people on the outside, you know, those looking at the parallelogram who just don’t get it all yet, but it ought to look beautiful and glorious to me. Preaching was never intended to be just words, or just acting upon them. Preaching is the Word of God acting upon us, acting upon me, acting upon you. Preaching is the actual Word of God acting in and through and for us.
Preaching or the knowledge of God in Christ himself is what saves any one of us. It’s what touched me when I was a five year old and started opening my eyes to begin contemplating the “Parallelogram” that is You. Preaching is what placed tidbits of Your truth about You, tidbits of images of You, in my heart as I grew into a teen. Preaching is what brought everything together so that all of a sudden, I began to understand the reality of the “Parallelogram” of You. Through preaching I saw where if fit and needed to fit into the “Parallelogram” that is You.
How do I explain preaching? It’s not about a sermon though preaching can be and ought to be in every sermon. But preaching is in our life. Preaching is life. Preaching is designed into the whole universe. Preaching is the active, living, real proclomation of God visible through Jesus Christ, of the depth, and height, and width, and breadth of the love of God for us that is demonstrated, lived out, actuated in our very lives and speech.
This verse keeps popping up lately. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17) That right there is what preaching is supposed to be. Think about it. Our lives should demonstrate the righteousness, the purity of God in and through us. What a message that would be! Our lives should demonstrate the peace of God through every trial. Imagine if that was true what a message that would be! And our lives are to be a demonstration of shear joy in the Lord, always. Now how’s that for a message! See, preaching can’t only be in words. And it can’t just be words that we follow. It has to be something more, something deeper. It has to be that relationship of a soul fully committed to and trusting in Christ and letting God have His way in every part of me. That’s where true preaching comes from. That’s the message Paul has for us. The question is, am I letting God make His “parrallelogram” visible to me? Has He written it in my heart and life? Do I get it? Am I starting to understand?