Watching the Oscars slowly, bit by bit, throughout the week, I was struck by the powerful acceptance speech by Viola Davis who won the supporting actress oscar for her performance in Fences. She said the best stories are found in graveyards, the stories of ordinary people who no one knows. Her story, Fences, which I have not seen yet is such a story about ordinary people. Davis plays the long- suffering wife to Denzel Washington's role as her trash collector husband. In her acceptance speech Davis emotionally thanked the ordinary people in her life and God who allowed her to play the ordinary roles she has played so well. In this week when Lent begins we need this emphasis on the ordinary. As we look toward the cross we remind ourselves of its foolishness. God chose the weak things to reveal his power and love. He chose the simple to show his wisdom. He chose a violent act to demonstrate his love. It looks for all the world like it made no sense. Paul says, God chose ordinary people to do some things ordinary people do when they are infused by God's Spirit.
When ordinary people enthuse about God rather than themselves, with their insights, powers, positions and prestige, people respond extraordinarily, John Goldingay says. These days we are more reminded of the so-called need for power, money, security and the need to keep those who threaten these things out. Spend our nations's wealth on walls and military weapons not ordinary people. The gospel is counter - intuitive, the powerful people have a hard time getting to it. "Right at the heart of God's revelation is a man being executed", Goldingay writes. Something so simple, it seems silly, unnecessary, trivial. Especially to people for whom greatness is the goal.