Destroy the Wisdom of the Wise

Tuesday of Holy Week, March 30, 2021

“…But we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

Before your squalls e’er cracked
the stable’s musty silence,
you suffered in your people’s
suffering.

How many shall we name?
The Calvaries of Scripture?
Brickworks in Egypt. Assyrian spears.
Mendacious monarchs. False prophets.

The flames of Solomon’s temple.
The ceaselessly repeated prophets’ bark:
“The widows and the orphans
have been left to die.”

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

The hands that drove the nails
into your flesh did so adeptly, trained
by other flinching, bleeding flesh,
and other hopeless moans.

Other hands were just as deft
to rob the poor and call it right,
to crush the power of women and
to burn the Second Temple, too.

For followers of Christ the faith
might mean exclusion from their home,
bereavement from their trade,
and yes, it might mean crucifixion.

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

I’ve been accustomed to using nails
of race and gender privilege,
to seeing nails of emptied magazines
and nails of gender definition.

I’ve mourned and not prevented
nails of poverty and war and greed
from fixing you – your people – to
the crosses that adorn this world.

But never had I thought to see
that foolishness and folly would conspire
to claim the crown of wisdom and
to crucify a host in just a year.

We are practiced and proficient
at crucifying you, O Christ.

No wonder that you wept.

A poem/prayer based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Tuesday of Holy Week.

The image is Vanitas Still Life by Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts (17th century) – http://www.Vanitasoceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/62477/vanitasstilllife, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8052848.

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