The message of the cross is foolishness to (the worldly wise…but) God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom (Apostle Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians 1.18a, 20b, 25a, paraphrased).
At Christmas several years ago, my wife, Pontheolla, knowing her husband of ever-whimsical heart, gifted me with a ceramic clown, balloons in hand, being carried aloft (his fast hold on his hat indicating swift carriage). This figurine, once hanging from the ceiling in my Capitol Hill office, now hovering near my bookcase in my South Carolina study, long has symbolized the resurrected Jesus. Jesus as clown makes sense to me.
Jesus, according to the Christian story, proclaimed the nearness of God’s kingdom (though I employ the word kin_dom as more relational, less monarchical and less hierarchical). That realm not where (as in some righteous place other than here), but when (as in right now) God’s love and justice, unconditional active benevolence and fairness for all, is real. That sphere when all share fully in the life of God who is not so much a Being, but rather is being.
Jesus declared the kin_dom’s presence with his lips and proved its power with his life; neglecting none, holding out his arms to all, especially the least and the last. Then Jesus, steadfast in his mission, suffered the violent rebuke of worldly principalities wedded to the possession of privilege wielded by the few.
Jesus, the ultimate clown, died a foolish death, one by forsaking his cause he might have avoided. Then rising, he demonstrated the foolishness of worldly wisdom that believed and still believes physical death is the end. That word, oft uttered regarding the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I paraphrase and apply here: Yes, the dreamer can die, yea, can be killed, but not…indeed, never the dream.
As my clown figurine holds fast to the balloons, I, dwelling in a world so distant from kin_dom-reality, clutch at a dream of God’s will done on earth as in heaven. Therefore, where and when I am, I will to love justly and just love – at the best, actively striving to do good toward and, in the least, seeking to bring no harm to – all people, whether I like or dislike them, agree or disagree with them, consider them fondest friends or oddest “others”. For this, I am willing to die and, therefore, I can live.