The liturgy presents us with the final section (26-31) of chapter one of First Corinthians today, which means we have jumped over verses 18-25 which provides the essential context of the passage. Paul speaks in a powerful rhetoric about the cross – ironically telling us that God will destroy the wisdom of the wise. It is a little like the scene in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where Marc Antony attempts – as a friend of the recently assassinated Caesar to speak without the rhetoric of Marcus Brutus – when Antony actually speaks in beautiful and compelling poetry in comparison to the pedestrian and uninspired prose of Brutus. Paul uses some of his finest rhetoric in this passage to convince us of the power and wisdom of the cross. None of this makes any sense according to the human wisdom that was so highly regarded by Corinthian society (as in our own) but God can transform what is weak and foolish into that which will shame the strong and the wise.

Recorded at St Paul’s, 8am. (12 mins)
Sunday 4, Year A. I Corinthians 1:26-31.