In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:12, NRSV

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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. It is written in scripture: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will reject the intelligence of the intelligent. Where are the wise? Where are the legal experts? Where are today’s debaters? Hasn’t God made the wisdom of the world foolish? In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21

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This is a tough passage. Paul is writing to a church that is fighting over who is in and who is out. This church in Corinth is more concerned about their earthly leaders than Christ. Paul is using shorthand to say the message of the cross – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – is the only thing that saves, not anything these Corinthians do. Paul is pointing out that the cross means nothing if the people are so hung up on themselves or what they are doing to earn salvation.

For Paul, the way of the cross means following Jesus alone – and no one or nothing else. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard, as the Corinthians are realizing. There’s no formula for earning God’s love.

God’s grace is there for us first, but that’s a hard concept to get. We are used to living in a world where we have to work to earn a good grade, where we are jockeying to find a place, to reach the top, to succeed. The way of the cross leads us in another way.

Susan Sytsma Bratt

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Dear God, thank you for constantly moving toward me. Thank you for the gift of your son Jesus Christ. As I continue on this Lenten journey, help me to see the love of Christ more clearly. Teach me to know your ways of love and grace. Amen.

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Go out into God’s world in peace.

Have Courage.

Hold onto what is good.

Return to no one evil for evil.

Strengthen the fainthearted.

Support the weak.

Help the suffering.

Honor all people.

Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Susan Sytsma Bratt

Susan Sytsma Bratt is the Associate Pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. She drinks way too much coffee and loves exploring the world with her husband and their daughter.

Reflections on the Way: Jesus the Very Thought of Thee - How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place

Ken Medema

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