I am beginning my third year as a student at the Houston Park Place Campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and my fall courses have just started up. I am taking the second course in a 2-part New Testament survey class, and my 5th semester of Greek, in which we will translate and study the "Pastoral Epistles" (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus).
In New Testament today, Dr. Hamilton lectured through 1 Corinthians, and then he preached in chapel about 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. He summoned preachers - and, by extension, seminarians - to expound the Gospel of Christ, even though to the world it is "folly" and "a stumbling block." According to worldly standards, a Messiah, a promised ruler, who is executed as a common criminal looks weak and foolish. Unregenerate people are able to cognitively grasp the Gospel story enough to think that it is foolish. A fairy tale. A crutch for the weak. But they will not, of their own volition, believe and embrace this message of a crucified Christ.
And yet, it is this very message, foolish and weak in the world's eyes, that God uses to save sinners. "Since, in the wisdom of God the world did not know him through wisdom, it pleased God by the foolishness of what is preached to save those who believe" (1 Cor. 18:21; emphasis added). So the call for the Christian preacher - and youth pastor, and children's minister, and education director, and Sunday School teacher, and worship pastor - is to proclaim the Gospel message of this murdered Messiah - "a stumbling block to Jews, and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 18:23-24).
Here's the application for us as leaders in corporate worship: our calling is the very same. Our goal in every element of the church's worship gatherings is to proclaim this crucified Christ. In our songs, Scriptures, prayers, and congregational readings, we must expound the Gospel of a Messiah who was executed at the hands of wicked men (though, ultimately, at the hands of a wrathful God), and who was raised by the Spirit's power. Though the world sees this message as foolish and weak, it is the power of God to save those who believe.
Reflecting today on these verses has caused me to be committed all the more to Christ-exalting, Gospel-saturated, God-centered songs and liturgy in congregational worship. May we, as leaders in corporate worship and as members of the body of Christ, celebrate and marvel at the glories of this Gospel, and its power to save damned sinners like us, and may its power cause us to live life for the glory of our great God.