Thursday, February 6, 2014

God chooses and uses what looks foolish or broken...

Last night, reading a daily devotional made up of selected Frederick Buechner excerpts, I was struck by this observation:

The most powerful preaching of our time is the preaching of the poets, playwrights, novelists because it is often they better than the rest of us who speak with awful honesty about the absence of God in the world and about the storm of his absence, both without and within, which, because it is unendurable, unlivable, drives us to look into the eyes of the storm.
Later this evening, Di and wrestled with the theological and aesthetic
challenge of this year's Good Friday experimental liturgy in much the way Buechner does. "What would cause someone who isn't an artist to want to engage the hard, dark places of Good Friday?" we wondered together over a long and lovely meal. My hunch, of course, is that nobody comes to these shadow places willingly - most of the time we allow ourselves to face the truth because we have been driven to our knees in despair or else broken by fear or humiliation - I don't think that even Jesus wanted to go to Gethsemane.  

But after surrendering to a wound greater than his imagination, power or privilege, St. Paul was able to confess the grace of this paradox: "God chose what is foolish to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even thing that are not, to bring to nothing things that are." (I Corinthians 1: 27-28) 

I read today that jazz master, Herbie Hancock (now 73) is leading a six part lectures series at Harvard on something he calls "The Ethics of Miles Davis." In today's Wall Street Journal he describes playing in Paris at the peak of their ability - they were grooving on "So What" one of their showcase tunes - when out of nowhere Hancock played a wrong chord.  The whole world seemed to stop for the young master but Miles just looked at him and then constructed a whole new melody around the wrong chord.  "I don't know how he did it," Hancock said. "But here created something beautiful... mostly because HE didn't hear a wrong note.  Just a challenge to which Miles opened the door and went through."

Tomorrow we're back in the groove...

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