“…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”—Colossians 1:20 (ESV)
Over the weekend, a friend asked me what my best hymn is. I responded by ‘singing’ (or mumbling) what I think is one of the best stanzas ever written in the history of Christendom.
When Isaac Watts penned the Good Friday hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, he had the scandal of the gospel in mind and the blood of foolishness running through his veins. He knew something that we mostly take for granted: the foolishness of the cross.
This is the third stanza:
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
When did such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.Isaac Watts
It’s true what they say: it’s impossible to believe the gospel on our own. Ask yourself: How can love and sorrow brew in the same pot?
Indeed, if water and oil can never mix, what is so special about love and sorrow? What about a King who opts for a crown of thorns when he can get the finest gold without a hustle?
The gospel story may be the most foolish story you will ever hear.
The story of a God who enters the womb of the one He created as a fetus. The story of a King who chooses to walk on water when He can summon the mightiest of ships with a snap of His finger. A story of God who allows the ones He created to mock Him. A story of a King who walks to His death.
A story of a King who defeats death by dying; is first by being last, showcases His power by being weak.
This story turns the world on its head and rubbishes common sense. When God makes us foolish enough to believe this foolish gospel, it becomes the Good News we had been waiting for all along. From then on, there is no holding back.
Whether you believe it or not, the scandal of the gospel is true. It’s true for you, me and everyone else. Because in the first century Palestine, Calvary became the dance floor where love and sorrow met and danced to the fine tune of salvation.
And to this day, we still dance.
This reflection was written on June 2nd, 2018.