A Meditation on the Wisdom of the Cross
“Agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
That admonition from 1 Corinthians 1:10 sounds pretty crazy today, doesn’t it? And there may indeed be a touch of idealism in St. Paul’s words. It comes, however, at the beginning of the apostle’s homily on what he calls the wisdom of the cross. There is nothing idealistic about the cross of Christ, and only in that context does our text makes sense.
Factions had arisen in the community due to the cult of personality, and Paul has been chiding the Corinthians because some say: I follow Paul, or I follow Apollos, or I follow Cephas. Sectarianism, or what some today call grouping, had displaced the harmony that should have reigned among them. Yet instead of telling them what to do about that, Paul seems to drop the subject.
But he hasn’t dropped the ball. Ingeniously in 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3, he explains why the remedy for their, and our, sectarianism is found in the unifying cross of Christ. But they don’t get this, he says, because they are spiritually immature (1 Cor. 3:1-4). You can almost hear him shouting, Grow up, people! Stop grouping. End your sectarian divisions (1 Cor. 3:21) at the foot of the cross.
Prayer: Our Father, take what seems like an impossible ideal and make it real in our communities and nations. Grant us the grace to live the wisdom of the cross, the “Yes!” to unity in diversity.
©2015 by Charles Strohmer
Thank you, Charlie, for giving us such a thoughtful blog on this often missed deep truth.
Much appreciated, Paul. As you know, it is a given when writing that it takes more time to write a sort piece instead of than long one. That certainly was true as I was reflecting on this topic. Glad you noticed.
A lot of Christians believe unity is ecumenism today. Or unity is submission under an authority they do not believe in.
I was thinking that some people die for their religion and we do not trust each other to unite in spirit and feelings.
You are certainly calling attention to root problems, none of which may be solvable through merely “human” answers. This may be partly why the cross of Christ, as St. Paul points out, is the solution.