A Little Bit of Foolishness (and maybe some wisdom, too)

RCL – Third Sunday in Lent – March 11, 2012

Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

In the midst of the chaos this week, I sought out some of God’s foolishness. I’m far too distressed by the increasing tensions between Israel and Iran, the on-going spew of demoralizing, destructive rhetoric from politicians, bombings in Russia, and deaths caused by tornadoes and other storms – I need to look at the positive this week. So here are some news items that I find interesting, provocative, and relevant and maybe indicative of God’s sense of humor.

The first story that I found somehow pleasing was the decoding of the gorilla genome. I don’t really understand the science behind this at all, but I do get the outcome. Human beings share 98% of our DNA with gorillas. Apparently, this is second only to Chimpanzees which is 99% but more than Orangutans at 97%. I realize that scientists are trying to sort out the evolutionary process and figure out the mystery of what makes us human. The entertainment value for me is that we share so much genetic material with creatures who are clearly animals. So what makes us uniquely human is about 1%. Yes, it is significant, but what does that say about how we should be caring for those creatures we consider “lesser”?

The law of God is perfect,  reviving the soul; the decrees of God are sure, making wise the simple…

Another story that is absolutely fascinating is the making of violin strings out of spider silk. I hate spiders and spider webs when I come into contact with them. I have often wondered why God created them (except maybe to eat things like mosquitoes). Now I know. They can make strings for violins that make violins sound even better. Who knew? Well, I guess the really smart, creative man in Japan who figured out how to do. If someone can figure out how to make something useful and beautiful out of spider silk, surely someone can figure out how to bring peace to war zones…

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.

After the gorilla and the spider come the “God Particle.” I’m not sure how or why I stumbled on the article describing the search for the “Higgs boson” or “God Particle.” This elusive particle will help explain the origins of mass. How is this even possible? I don’t know. I don’t even really understand what it is the physicists are searching for or if I have the terminology correct. But what would a discovery really explain? Creation ex nihilo? I’m a fan of science, knowledge, learning. It’s not wrong to want to know how the world works and where it came from. But spending billions of dollars on this particular issue seems odd at this point in history. Wouldn’t time and money be better spent trying to provide clean drinking water, adequate food, and appropriate health care throughout the world than trying to figure out where the world came from?

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

This last one doesn’t show God’s wisdom so much as human foolishness. There was a story about young girls putting video clips on You Tube to ask about their attractiveness and value. These teens and preteens were asking strangers to validate them. The gorillas, spiders, and physicists make me smile in awe and wonder. This story has the opposite effect on me. It is distressing. Friends, if our kids are looking to strangers to give them a sense of worth, we have been very foolish indeed. As Christians we have an answer to this question of personal value that kids are not hearing. Why not? I know this is a common question. But, really, are our traditions and ways of being the church in the world more important than the emotional and spiritual health of our children?

When I consider the wonders of creation – the gorillas, the spiders, the particles (that I can’t begin to understand) – I want all children to know that they are beautiful and wonderful and amazing. Why are we so reluctant to treat one another as children of God, sacred beings? No girl should need a You Tube video to tell her she has worth. No human being should doubt their value. It might be time to cleanse our temples…

We can sort out genomes and make instruments from cobwebs, search out and come close to finding the origins of the universe, but we can’t communicate love and value that are God given. We are foolish creatures indeed.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O God, my rock and my redeemer.

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