March 25, 2005


Jesus' Reminders (Philip Yancey)

The image Jesus left with the world, the cross, the most common image in the Christian religion, is proof that God cares about our suffering and pain. He died of it. Today the image is coated with gold and worn around the necks of beautiful girls, a symbol of how far we can stray from the reality of history. But it stands, unique among all religions of the world. Many of them have gods. But only one has a God who cared enough to become a man and to die.

Dorothy Sayers says:

For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is - limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death - he had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.

To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son's suffering? What possible good could such a God do for us? But a louder sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to man, "I love you." Love was compressed for all history in that lonely, bleeding figure. Jesus, who said he could call down the angels at any moment and rescue himself from the horror, chose not to - because of us. For God so loved us, that he sent his only Son to die for us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 25, 2005 6:22 AM

This is certainly a good weekend to reflect on the suffering of innocents. I am reminded how completely we have been co-opted by our culture and how completely our humanity has been redefined- even our Christian faith. Faith defined by Biblical Christianity has been prominently debated in our culture for some time, intensely since Roe v Wade. During all that time the argument has flowed back and forth only occasionally straying from the civil and rational rules we have adopted since the Enlightenment. We have learned to live with the "rights" of some to supercede those of others without regard to context or justice. Many millions of deaths later we have learned to prefer the antiseptic death in clinics and hospices to those on smoke-bounded battlefields. We have chosen physicians, politicians, and judges to be our executioners. This case in Florida is as though God is holding a mirror to our culture and making us look and asking if we are going to go down this road yet again. All but a meager few are spectators with no clue as to how this affects the world in which we live. We are watching a woman literally strave to death and we are restrained from doing anything to defend this helpless family by good manners, principles, or some other benighted, confused logic. The story of 1930s Germany comes to mind. They came for the Jews and I did nothing because I was not a Jew... We are being good Germans. Law is meant to be the servant of humanity. It just doesn't work the other way round.

Posted by: Pilgrim at March 25, 2005 11:27 AM