Monthly Archives: April 2012
I encountered this poem on the tube coming back from lunch today:
“I Sing of Change.”
of the beauty of Athens
without its slaves
Of a world free
of kings and queens
and other remnants
of an arbitrary past
with no sharp north
or deep south
without blind curtains
or iron walls
Of the end
of warlords and armouries
and prisons of hate and fear
Of deserts treeing
after the quickening rains
Of the sun radiating ignorance
and stars informing
nights of unknowing
I sing of a world reshaped.
I read an interesting book (extended essay?) this morning. I’m about a month behind on when it came out, but I wanted to post it nevertheless. For those of you familiar with emergent circles, Tony Jones will be a name you know. For those who don’t, he’s a popular emergent theologian from the United States.
Anyway, he’s written a brief piece on atonement theory addressing the current situation most Christians find themselves in today. Presently, the Penal Substitutionary Model has reigned as the pre-eminent understanding of the Atonement for years. In fact, Christians are shocked to find out that it’s not the only way of looking at it.
Jones’ book is good at least for that purpose, even if you disagree with the final conclusion he makes. Basically, he does a biblical survey, a historical survey, and proposes his own understanding that has much to do with Jurgen Moltmann’s theology (I’m currently reading).
So, a short afternoon read for you. Enjoy!
Years ago, I remember reading Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. I remember feeling that this was the way I felt about my faith, that it was not so clear cut as so many people wanted to make it out to be. I recently downloaded the book again on my Kindle to read while I’m here in London. Why? Because I want to read it again before the movie comes out. Movie, you say? That’s the reaction of most people I talk to about it. Many do not even know that a movie is coming out. They may have loved the book, but have not heard a thing about the movie.
So, yes, there is going to be a movie. Read the rest of this entry
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome brought spice so that they could come and anoint Jesus. Then, very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb, just at sunrise. They were saying to one another, “There’s that stone at the door of the tomb —who’s going to roll it away for us?”
Then, when they looked up, they saw that it had been rolled away. (It was extremely large.)
So they went into the tomb, and there they saw a young man sitting on the right-hand side. He was wearing white. They were totally astonished.
“Don’t be astonished,” he said to them. “You’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been raised! He isn’t here! Look — this is the place where they laid him.
“But go and tell his disciples — including Peter — that he was going ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, just like he told you.”
They went out, and fled from the tomb. Trembling and panic had seized them. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
The Gospel according to St Mark 16:1-8; Kingdom New Testament
Mark leaves us with a sense of incompleteness, because while there are some more verses following what we just read, they are likely not part of the original Gospel. At the end of it all, Mark does not show us that Jesus has risen; he simply shows us that the earliest believers ran from the tomb in panic doing nothing. “Trembling and panic had seized them. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
Now, there are a lot of things that ministers could do with that. They could pontificate about evangelism and how we must be better at telling people about Jesus. We cannot be like these believers who were too frightened and ran away from telling everyone they knew about Jesus. How bad a people are we for not telling people about Jesus? But I do not think that is what Mark is trying to tell us.
The resurrection is not a message about evangelism. The resurrection is not about trying to convert people. The resurrection is not about putting you down for not talking about Jesus enough.
The resurrection, especially in Mark, is begging us — whoever we are and wherever we are at — to come and see. He is going ahead of us to Galilee. We will see him there, just like he told us.
The resurrection is about seeing something new.
I will not try to persuade or argue about Jesus. My only reply is, “Come and see.” Come and see what he has done for me. Come and see what he is doing for people all over the world. Come and see Jesus in Galilee. Come and see the Jesus who said, Blessed are you.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, … those who mourn, … the meek, … those who hunger and thirtst for righteousness [and those who hunger and thirst], … the merciful, … the pure in heart, … the peacemakers.” Blessed.
The resurrection is about a world that works a different way. It is the ultimate statement by God for us that says, “Things will be different now. Things are going to change.”
No, things don’t always look that way. It is hard sometimes to look around the world and see all the bad things going on and all the people suffering and believe in the resurrection.
But I think that’s where we come into the story.
When we look and see the resurrection on one hand and a suffering world on the other, we ought to feel like Jesus when he saw the hungry, the blind, the oppressed, and say, “Things will be different now. Things are going to change.”
And that’s resurrection in our lives here right now. Because the “Good News” of the Gospel is not that heaven is coming in some distant future and it’s saving us from hell. The “Good News” is, as Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
And that starts with Jesus working in our lives. It starts with letting this news change the way we look at the world, the way we look at the people we pass on the street or sit next to on the Tube. It starts with us. So, it’s my hope that Easter is not just a nice little holy day for us, but that it propels us into the rest of the year. It’s my hope that we will go to Galilee and see, and let it change us, too.