Word for the day by Christian Edcation Forum

Lighted to Lighten

Noble Abraham
Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Nowhere in the other epistles does St. Paul use the imagery of the cross so vividly and bluntly as he does here in first chapter of the first epistle to the church of Corinth. Paul was greatly troubled by reports from Corinth of deepening divisions, increasing contentions and other problems (1: 10 – 12). This situation came to be more so because of the multifaceted cultural diversity of the city of Corinth (1: 22).  St. Paul uses a methodology of first revealing to them their identities (vv. 1 – 17) and later identifying them to whom they belong to (vv. 18 – 25)

Paul called the believers at Corinth “saints” (v.2), who are “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (v.2), “baptized in the name of Christ” (v. 13) and “united in same mind, with no division” (v. 10) Friends, even in our faith journey of being ‘Lighted to Lighten the world’ we should first know who we are and whom do we belong to. The cross is our identity (v.18) of being once wounded and rejected by the guilt and shame of sinful life but later saved by the power of resurrection (vv.21 – 24). Thus challenging us to be in this world for the wounded and the guilt laden, the lone and the forgotten, giving all the hope of a friend and messiah.

The other day I was reminded of an old story which took me right back to my good old Sunday school days. The story is of a boy who dreams of being on a pilgrimage to Golgotha. According to a divination he had, he was supposed to carry a full sized cross, just like Jesus did the day he was crucified. The young boy seemed upbeat of this journey he had to make and was expecting to have a God experience when he would reach Golgotha. After covering a considerable distance with the heavy laden cross, the boy was finding it difficult to move ahead and so he stopped by the lane. That’s when an idea struck him. He said to himself, “why not cut the cross short so as to make the rest of the journey much easier?” He looked around and “Bingo!!! I am at the right place.”, as he saw a furniture shop and a carpenter working inside with his tools. He immediately went in the shop, borrowed a saw blade and cut the cross short. This made the rest of the journey comfortable. He had almost reached at the foothill of Golgotha that when he came across a stream. He looked up to the heaven for help and suddenly heard a voice saying, “put down the cross and walk over it.” He did so and was immediately taken aback as the cross was just short too reach the other side.

Many a time we try hard to do away identifying with the cross. This is possible true during times of wealth, well-being and prosperity; times when we think we are something and have reached somewhere even without the heavy laden cross. That’s exactly when we encounter the emptiness, the falling short of the mark like situation.

Friends we are to identify with the cross so that the message of Jesus Lightens the world to make it a better place through us.


Lord, allow us to identify with the cross so that the message of Your son can lighten those around us. Amen.

"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.....
......those who have God
Find they lack nothing;
God alone suffices - 
St. Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582)

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