the message of the cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . . For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called , both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For you see your calling, brethren that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption- that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
(from 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2, epistle reading for Great Vespers of Holy Friday, from The Orthodox Study Bible http://www.orthodoxstudybible.com/ ) Icon from http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/2006/04/orthodox-holy-week.html )

And also a word from St. John of Krondstadt’s My Life in Christ, page 340:
O how bitter were my sins to Thee, Christ, my God and my Saviour, when Thou wast buffeted, scourged, spit upon; when Thy head was pierced with thorns and Thou was nailed to the cross for my sake; when Thou hungest on the cross, in unspeakable torments, to save me from the most bitter, unspeakable torments of hell! But I ought to call to mind more frequently this Thy self-exhaustion, these Thy sufferings, in order not to commit sin, and to zealously fulfill all virtue in order to love Thee with all my heart, to fulfil Thy saving commandments. Meanwhile, I often forget this awful sacrifice, offered for me by the Only Begotten, unoriginate, co-eternal Son of the Heavenly Father. Grant unto me then, Lord, a pure heart and unchangeable repentance, leading to salvation; grant that I may find favor in Thy sight during the remainder of my life!

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