Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles… (1 Corinthians 1:22-23 NIV)
The church at Corinth were a foolish people. 1 Corinthians is a letter which Paul writes to a church who were embarrassed about their faith. Jesus dying on the cross was quite scandalous. Why?
The church at Corinth consisted of people from a Jewish background and people from a non-Jewish background. The people from a non-Jewish background were a people who were educated in Greek thought.
Last fall when we studied the 7 signs in the Gospel of John, we saw how the temple of Jerusalem’s religious leadership refused to believe in the 7 signs of the Son of God, Jesus. These religious leaders were looking for signs like the 10 plagues of Moses in Exodus. They were stuck in the tradition of Moses. They could not see in Jesus the new signs of the kingdom. They refused to accept the signs of the true Messiah, Jesus.
The Greek empire leaves a cultural legacy in the Mediterranean which still exists despite Roman conquests. That is why the New Testament is written in Greek. The prevalent thinking culture of Corinth is Greek, with the legacy of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. People of the Greek mind at Corinth were embarrassed at Christians who would give their lives to a leader who dies on the scandalous cross. This is utter foolishness. It makes no sense.
This month’s Faith Today magazine reports their survey of 5,014 Canadians over the age of 18.
In August 2019, 5,014 Canadians over the age of 18 were surveyed. 50% of Canadians are agnostic, atheist and spiritual, not religious. Only 10% attend religious services weekly.
What does this mean for us when we meet the people in our lives on Monday? What does it mean to be agnostic, atheist or spiritual? What does it mean that 90% of Canadians do not attend a religious service weekly?
Let me share with you how these 4 different categories respond to God and to church.
• Agnostic-There is a God but he cannot be known
• Atheist-There is no God
• Spiritual not religious-Be in touch with your God without any rules
• 90% of Canadians do not have a Sunday church background
I see these statistics as an opportunity for us. On Sunday we are the church gathered. On Monday we are the church scattered. In our Monday lives, we are called to present Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. That’s OK with me. Just as Christ looked foolish on the cross, we cannot run away from our foolish message. All we need to work on making sure of, is that we are not fools because of ourselves. We are fools because of Jesus, not ourselves. May the foolish Jesus speak through our Monday lives.