I had a 2 line twitter conversation with a South African journalist and atheist over the weekend. He was at an atheist convention in Australia and discovered there was no whiskey in his mini bar and so he tweeted, ‘Lord why have you forsaken me?’
I couldn’t help but respond, in jest mind you, ‘do you really need to ask that question?’ He of course doesn’t know me from Adam (or Eve) – I only know him through a few of his on line articles and of course with twitter there’s no way of knowing whether a person is joking or not – but he replied, ‘No I do, you’ll always be forsaken by imaginary beings. Rather put your faith in the car guard’.
Small wry smiles, ‘my, my we are clever, witty, intellectual creatures’ I bet we both thought … ‘she really doesn’t get it’, ‘he really doesn’t get it’ – we both get it, and neither of us really gets it!
Faith in imaginary beings… Who puts their faith in an imaginary being? Well, I guess I do. Every day. Sometimes I struggle to place my life and well-being into the ‘hands’ of the unknown and then there are days like today when I can’t help but laugh out loud at how small minded and ego-centric I am when I doubt the presence and provision of God. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the things that happened today don’t make sense for me, (or when I just plain forget that they happen at all), but sometimes I struggle with how come this happens for me and not others?
Then I have to remember that trust is a basic component of life for everyone, no matter how much or how little we may have… and it is relative, trust is relative to our levels of faith and need.
I should explain. My car needs new shock absorbers. Big money, small budget. So I am thinking creatively as I start my day. Can it wait? Will some money come next month? Maybe I shouldn’t have bought groceries. And as I am thinking creatively I pick up my voice messages that were left last night. One comes from my friend at a church community I work with. She says, ‘I hear you need shock absorbers, go ahead and get a quote and let me have it’.
Real need, real cost, real solution.
‘I lift my eyes to the hills’ we said in chapel this morning, ‘from whence comes my help?’
A real community has answered my need, through the prompting of my imaginary friend perhaps?
Moments like these happen over and over and over – a silent prayer for guidance, a person speaks about that exact thing. Discrepancy between outgoing expenses and new seminary stipend, a person offers to fill the gap. A heart felt need for companionship and friendship, a true and authentic person steps into my life. The list goes on and on and happens over and over again. A need in my new church community – over three days, three separate and random encounters offer the help and support we need!
What is that? … Mystery whispers into my heart and breathes life into my doubting self, the sibilant beautiful world and word of myssssstery… ‘ah yes my child – tis I, your imaginary friend…’
God takes care of my needs time after time after time. I don’t have abundance, but then again, surely having everything I need is abundance? I don’t need for anything, I want lots of stuff, who doesn’t, but I don’t need for anything. Where this gets tricky for me, like I said, is that whilst I am grateful, I recognise that others may not have their prayers answered in the same way – or do they?
People who display deep faith, also display unflinching trust, when they need that loaf of bread or that smile or that ray of hope beamed back at them, they recognise it when it comes. That’s faith. That’s trust. And for those who manage to display it in the face of insurmountable odds I am always slightly envious. People who have nothing seem far more faith-full than those who have much and I think it’s probably because they realise their needs are out of their sphere of control and so they have no option but to rely on the ‘imaginary being’ who some of us like to call God, the well spring and the provider of life.
The challenge though for those of us who have much, is whether or not we have the faith to share the much that we have. Do we trust that our needs will continue to be taken care of and that we can therefore share what we have? On the flipside, if we are waiting ON something, do we have the faith to trust that it will also be taken care of, in good time?
It’s a biggie – I’ll grant you that, but the beauty and the not-so mystery of creation is that there is enough for all of us, we just need to trust that knowledge and learn to share that which we have the great fortune to enjoy.
Today was a great reminder for a sometimes doubtful soul, so, to my imaginary friend (s) … thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
For those who are waiting on hope, provision, relief, release, light, guidance, love, practical assistance or strength, I pray you would give God a chance to do God’s thing – namely, step into the gap – and until that happens – let someone pray for you.
I will pray for you…
I lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
God will not allow your foot to be moved;
The God who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, the God who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
God is your keeper; God is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
God shall preserve you from all evil, God will preserve your soul.
God will preserve your going out and Your coming in
From this time forth, and even evermore.
The following are some very imperfect and embryonic thoughts about a topic we are dealing with in Systematic Theology … forgive me my ignorance and humble musings on what is a deeply complex theory …
We have just come through the Easter period, where we travelled with Christ to his violent and unmerited death on the cross. Christians have come to understand this event as a time of victory over death, over evil, over shame and as a time to celebrate the saving power of God through the sacrifice of God’s son. I have always struggled with the crucifixion. Most of my resistance to the doctrines of salvation and atonement come from the premise that an almighty, omnipotent God, who is all loving and all merciful, sent a man (albeit a God-man) to a violent and inhumane death on a cross in order to free us from our sin.
If that same God is ‘in charge’ of my life and my destiny, who’s to say that God won’t send me to a fateful, violent death in order to avenge someone else’s evil doings, or to teach us a lesson? That is a God of punishment and retribution and goes against the unmerited grace which I believe was the gospel message of Jesus – ‘freely you have received, freely give’ (Matt 10:8). I understand that my faith centres on this event and so my struggles go deep to try and fully understand what was intended and what was achieved through this event and what it means for me today. When I came across this theory in McGrath’s book (Christian Theology – An Introduction) about the violence of the cross it went against the very essence of who I believe God is, but over the Easter period I wrestled with the violence of the cross in order to better understand it.
In short, Rene Girard (1923), who purported this theory, says that the crucifixion event is about human violence and jealousy – ‘mimetic desire’. McGrath describes Girard as an anthropologist not a theologian, although an article out of Stanford University where Girard worked for many years describes Girard’s work as crossing the ‘fields of literature, anthropology, theology, philosophy, sociology, psychology’. (Haven) Girard, I think rightly, says violence is inherent in human nature and hence inherent in understandings of the divine and divine or religious ritual. According to Girard ‘mimetic desire’ spurs this need for violence – mimetic desire being the desire for something that another human being possesses. This theory is mirrored throughout the bible and specifically in the story in 1 Kings 3 where two women claim motherhood over one baby. The woman whose baby has died claims another’s baby as her own and assents to the King cutting the baby in half in order to solve the dispute with the words, ‘neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’ (1 Kings 3:26)
When one individual or group of individuals wants something that belongs to another group then violence is often a by-product of that jealousy and greed according to Girard. One way to circumvent this is to divert attention onto another object – a scapegoat which then becomes the focus of the groups violence and the means of their ‘transformation’ – ‘this sacrifice serves to protect the entire community from its own violence’ – thus restoring harmony. (McGrath)
I am still uncomfortable with this theory, mostly because I am uncomfortable with referring to Jesus as ‘the sacrifice’, the ‘scapegoat’. But having journeyed with congregants and writers and their relative discomfort with the crucifixion event this year, I have come to think that we need to see our dark selves in the imagery of a violent community – a violent community who will condemn an innocent man because he dares to challenge us and our need for power, wealth, status and control. Not many people go as far as actual physical killing or inhumane acts of violence, but if we are honest and are able to stomach the idea that we have a tendency towards jealousy and greed, which enable us to turn a blind eye to injustice then I believe the violent crucifixion event and its powerful message may make us think twice about how we treat people and what we hold on to so fiercely and uncompromisingly – be they possessions or beliefs.
As for the sacrificial giving of God’s Son for our salvation, Haven’s (2009) closing remarks on Girard’s theory have helped me understand one reason why using Jesus as a scapegoat for ‘original sin’ is difficult for me to comprehend:
‘In a spellbinding lecture last year, Girard pointed out that we have reached a point in history where we can no longer blame scapegoats. The mechanism of scapegoating is too well known, so the ritual murder no longer expiates the society. War no longer works to resolve conflict—indeed, wars no longer have clear beginnings, endings or aims. Moreover, as weapons have escalated, war could destroy us all.’ (Haven)
Girard in the latter part of his life claimed that ‘the Bible [as] “anti-myth”— is a description of humankind’s long climb up from barbarity. Violence, retaliation and a vengeful God evolve over centuries into themes of forgiveness, repentance and the revelation that the scapegoat is innocent, culminating in the Crucifixion’. (Haven)
What a hopeful interpretation of an uncomfortably prophetic statement on humanity – I guess my question is, will we ever really learn to listen?
‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you’ (John 14:27)
The following extract comes from yesterdays reflection by Richard Rohr … contentious much?
‘On a first level I see mystical moments as moments of enlargement. Suddenly we’re bigger. We don’t feel a need to condemn, exclude, divide or separate. Secondarily, mysticism is a deep experience of connectedness or union.
Unfortunately, most of us were sent on private paths of perfection which none of us could achieve. The path of union is different than the path of perfection. Perfection gives the impression that by effort or more knowing I can achieve wholeness separate from God, from anyone else, or from connection to the whole. It appeals to our individualism and our ego. It’s amazing how much of Christian history sent us on a self-defeating course toward private perfection. As a result, many people just gave up—even many clergy and religious—when they saw it never worked. They ended up practical agnostics or practical atheists. They keep up the form, keep up the words, they keep going to church, but there is no longer the inner desire and expectation that is possible with the path of union. Mysticism does not defeat the soul; moralism does.‘ (R Rohr)
Is it the church’s job to be the moral watchdog? – Mmm – going to have to ponder on that…
‘God is too unconscious to be moral. Morality presupposes consciousness. God is total justice & its total opposite – Carl Jung in ‘Answer to Job’
Solitude is my strength – After a few days spent on my own I feel peaceful.
And yet everywhere I turn and whatever I read speaks to me about community and about learning to live together and learning to live together well, so I am going to immerse myself in community and shelve my dream of a year long sabbatical into solitude as a reward, in time, for excellent communal living (my lips to Gods ears) …
But this has me thinking. What do we really know about community living?
Consider this story:
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the East, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, ‘let’s make bricks and harden them with fire’. Then they said, ‘come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.’ But God came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ God said. ‘The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.’ In that way, God scattered them all over the world and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where God confused the people with different languages. (Gen 11)
This narrative of why people became scattered is usually used to talk about pride. In Sunday school I was taught that people tried to build a tower up to God and God didn’t want them to be so clever so he scattered them – something to that effect. As I have thought about community and diversity over the last few months, this story has revisited me and revisited me. In some ways I think the story can be quite damaging, it’s as though God wants us to be separate, that scattered communities are God’s intention because in our togetherness we may think we’re invincible. Is that how humanity should look? It’s the way it does look, but should it? I believe in wonderful, dynamic, colourful, diverse communities -yes, conflicted, fearful, separated communities – no.
Time for a new interpretation of an old childhood myth… When we stay focussed on our own small and one dimensional community’s, pride and isolation get the better of us, when we stop understanding and connecting with other communities we lose the ability to build and maintain bridges connecting us to the God who flows through all of humanity. We become more disparate and more suspicious of one another. I believe our purpose is to love and respond to one another even though we are different and yet today’s world is increasingly individualistic and mistrusting of the ‘other’. We really do not understand each other and with lack of understanding comes suspicion and fear.
Karen Armstrong is one of my favourite authors, she’s a historian and world renown authority on the three major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. She used to be a nun – her autobiography ‘The Spiral Staircase’ is very moving. A few years ago, 2008/9, she started a movement known as the Charter for Compassion. In her work and studies of various religious groups she identified a ‘golden rule’ which unites all the major religions, the ‘do unto others rule.’ This movement is steadily gaining traction amongst prominent political and faith leaders and rather than just be a touchy-feely-warm approach to being human is actually a practical and realistic means of transforming the world for peace. She also wrote ‘12 Steps to a Compassionate Life’ a book well worth reading.
I read an interview with her on the Charter and its practical implications and I was impressed by her tenacity and clear minded thinking when it came to making this a viable solution to achieving world peace. You can read the article here. One of the suggestions which I found really interesting was her idea of twin cities. In her words: ‘One of my dreams is to create twin cities. For example, have a city in the Middle East twinned with a city in the United Sates. People can exchange news and form electronic friendships. Schools and universities can communicate so that some of the apprehensions and distorted views that we have of one another can be eroded. A network of compassionate cities could be a powerful force.’
Closer to home, the week before Easter break in our Philosophy class we broke up into our ethnic groups: Zulu, Tswana, Xhosa, English, ‘other’ and tried to answer three questions about each of the groups. 1) what do you think you know about their family structures, 2) what do you think you know about their culture, 3) what do you think you know about their faith?
Heavens to Betsy it took all of about 3 minutes before we nearly had a full blown bust up and then there were the gut wrenchingly embarrassing perceptions we have of one another. We are a small, educated and (mostly) intelligent group of people but our misconceptions about each other nearly blew my mind right out of the water. What really got me was how afraid I was to admit to the ‘I don’t really know you’ aspects of the discussion. Pride keeps us from asking ‘what do you mean by this’ and pride prevents us from saying ‘well you may think that about us but that is not really accurate, this is accurate.’ We either blow up in anger or keep quiet in shame or resignation. I was too embarrassed to admit just how ignorant I really am. In our global village with the fast paced exchange of information and facts we are still woefully ignorant about each other and what actually makes us tick. And so there is a plan for us to engage each other here at Seminary on this very topic. ‘Who are you REALLY?’
First off, we need to pray… engaging our perceptions of each other will likely lead to a spot of bother before it leads to peace, but if we are going to get to know each other at all, we need to learn to talk to each other, openly, honestly and humbly. We are going to have to put our pride to one side and say ‘I may have lived side by side with you for most of my life but when it comes to matters of culture, religion and life view I am ashamed to say, I have no idea who you are’. Step no. 7 to a compassionate life is engaging the, ‘How Little We Know – making a place for the other’, getting to know each other without preconceived ideas and prejudices, with open hearted compassion and empathy. Can we not do this in our churches maybe, at our workplaces, with friends, for fun? Facilitating these kinds of discussions will lead to enlightening and life giving conversations.
The Charter for Compassion is designed to ‘counter the voices of extremism, intolerance and hatred. At a time when religions are widely assumed to be at loggerheads, it would also show that despite our significant differences, on this we are all in agreement and that it is indeed possible for the religious to reach across the divide and work together for justice and peace.’ (12 Steps to a Compassionate Life)
So, for us, a first step is to find the courage to really, really talk to one another … get to know one another and learn to hear each other with open hearted, open minded love and compassion.
so go on, lets start a conversation …
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Today I read a beautiful and sensitive article from an American blogger called Julie Clawson about her experience of worship and diversity at her seminary and the hurt that we experience if we believe ourselves to be outsiders – I can relate for both similar and different reasons.
It’s no secret that I am at a culturally diverse seminary. It’s no secret that I am part of the minority at said seminary. But what makes this such a weirdly rich experience is that even though I am in the minority, I am also free to associate with all people here – I have largely been embraced by everyone because I fit no particular box or category. To be more specific I am the only white female which places me uniquely on my own and yet squarely able to move between groups with relative ease.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of a rather dark and trying time I wrote a plaintive little piece about my experience of a worship service here – truth be told it was a bit whiny and ego-centred, but it was also honest – the fact is that worship sometimes unravels me rather than connects me at the seminary. John Van der Laar very graciously wrote back reminding me that worship is a transformative experience which should connect us to God and to the people around us if we embrace it intentionally. In hindsight I see that my post focused on the music, the ‘packaging’ as John called it rather than the whole experience of connecting to God and he was right of course, the packaging is secondary to what we are trying to achieve when we worship. I was suitably chastised and have attempted to throw myself whole heartedly into worshipping in a gazillion different languages and with ‘packaging’ which sometimes makes my ears bleed (John you would be proud).
And I think it may be working – in so much as I do feel a resonance with the people I am worshipping with, but again in the spirit of honesty I wonder if it’s the worship which is doing that, or just the gracious Spirit of God moving amongst us (you can decide).
But, this is what I have observed in the weeks since I wrote that post and which resonated with Julie’s post. Worship IS about God and about being with Gods people in an open and transformed way – give that girl a medal, I hear you cry! I have come to understand that it’s about letting go of the ‘little me’ in order to experience the ‘bigger me’ which is IN God. In some respects using the word ‘me’ is incongruent with worshipping God (although readers of Richard Rohr’s work will understand what I mean). But herein lies the paradox…
Communities are made up of little ‘me’s’ who collectively come together to share in a worship experience which they feel connects them culturally and spiritually to one another and to the Spirit of God which flows through us all and when it’s with music or in a language which is felt deep in our bones then it is all the more meaningful and connecting rather than disconnecting. So what I struggle with and what I guess Julie seems to be struggling with is how do we hold the tension between those who feel their expression of ‘Godliness’ is being minimised by the need to embrace other people’s expression of ‘Godliness’? How do we love each other’s diversity if our own diversity is not being appreciated? And how realistic is it for us to fully embrace all without hurting at least some?
I’ll give you an example. I have been placed in a semi-rural African church as part of my practical ministry experience. Language is an issue – so is gender truth be told – welcoming a white female minister is not easy for everyone in that context. For Easter this year I asked the minister in charge what was expected of me at the church during the Vigil and Holy Week services. African churches fully embrace the high and liturgical aspects of Easter and their services run for days (and even nights). He told me to just be available on Saturday day to do some training with the children and maybe some bible study with them, effectively excluding me from the adult ‘worship’ elements of Easter. I was equal parts relieved and confused. How do I interpret that? Did he not want me because I don’t have much to offer that context? Was he being sensitive to my identity as an outsider? I am not sure.
But I have chosen to look at it this way – perhaps my minister realised that if he invited another seminarian who at least spoke the language of the people, then his congregation would have a richer experience over Easter then if they had used me – I would have needed an interpreter and I may not have been able to fully appreciate and thus speak into their context. I was invited by another church to co-lead the Easter services and of course found my experience with them to be very rich and very rewarding – so all good yes?
There is no doubt that this is a complex issue – transformation amongst us in Africa (and within the wider church) when it comes to matters of race, ethnicity and gender is long overdue and highly contentious, and worshipping together will aid the cause, but is bringing in a white woman to lead a patriarchal society in a language unfamiliar to them likely to bring about change in that moment? And is that the right moment to try and facilitate inclusion? Like I said, I don’t know. What I do know is that I could lament the fact that I may have been side-lined due to race and/or gender – sure, but is it worth it? I will continue to slowly try and gain the trust of this community and will continue to offer my services, but I am not going to let it upset me or derail me if I am not fully embraced or utilised. That’s an ego issue and one which really has no place within the service of God (in my humble opinion).
A defining moment for me at the seminary so far and the moment when I found my rhythm here amongst my culturally and ethnically diverse family was when I recognised that it was my ego that stood in the way of unity between me and my brothers and sisters. I could continue to feel alone and marginalised because the context is so unfamiliar to me or I could just embrace it and throw myself into the experience for what it is and not what I want it to be. I firmly believe that our balance and harmony in life comes when we accept life for what it is, not taking issue with what others say about us or how they treat us. When we can learn to let go of what we ‘expect’ from others and learn to embrace ‘what is’, life is far more rewarding. Who cares if people don’t respect/accept me? I respect me. God accepts me. I know what I am called to and who I am in God and someone’s lack of respect is less about me then it is about them.
I do feel Julie’s pain, especially for those who may feel ‘out’, (racism and sexism and all those other ‘isms’ are very real and very ugly) but in her writing I also hear that people laugh – in fun not in cruelty hopefully – and laughter rather than being divisive can also unify us if we can laugh together, humbling ourselves enough to laugh at our differences, at our perceptions of each other. Laughter and humility can bind us together as we learn to navigate the choppy waters of what it means to be unified in the face of our diversity.
And so … getting back to worship, the best way for us to worship God, as Julie says is by learning to live in worshipful ways which honour God – understanding everyone’s worth as children of God and understanding that God is bigger than our perceived or real differences. Perhaps we need to learn to let go of our need to be respected, to be right, or to be important, learning to appreciate our differences theologically, ethnically, culturally, worshipfully, learning to be a community of people the same in our need for love, only different in our understanding of how to express that love.
Perhaps? Who knows?
By the Grace of God …
Easter Monday, the weekend almost over, the holidays (at least for some of us) are over and a new season and a new term begins.
But Easter is not over. The fun is just beginning. Jesus has risen from the tomb and now has new mysterious lessons to teach us. In his resurrection we now have a different way of being. In the Liturgical calendar this season is known as Eastertide. It’s the time when Jesus walked amongst his people in resurrected form and solidified his teachings saying, ‘now it’s your turn’. No real mystery in that. What Jesus did on earth, we must do in his place, love, heal, teach and pray.
But, there is more to this season than just the earthly side I believe. There is a mystery to this time built into the experiences that we have been through during Lent and Holy Week. The next fifty days to Pentecost are filled with spiritual power and opportunity. If we tune in, then the window of opportunity for real transformation can be ours if we give it a chance to grow. This means, not just putting away our Easter hearts, but rather, remaining alert to the wonders and signs which Jesus can show us if we ask.
My heart is not proud, O Lord, My eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters, Or things too wonderful for me.
I still and quiet my soul;
Like a weaned child with its mother,
My soul is quiet within me.
On this Holy Saturday of our Liturgical calendar we sit in silent expectation.
Faithfully, we wait and we watch.
Good Friday, what a dark day …
I am sure that many people (well in fact I know many people) don’t like this time of the year – this part of the Christian calendar – some churches just skip it altogether with the understanding that Jesus has risen and so there’s no need to focus on the crucifixion.
Who can blame them?
Who wants to focus on the messy, dark side of humanity when you can revel in Easter eggs and happy thoughts?
But as I have journeyed this weekend with the St Winifred’s Methodist Church over Tenebrae and the Good Friday services, I have been struck anew at just how powerful this message of love is. That someone could be so brave and so loving in the face of unbearable cruelty is incomprehensible to me. Yes Jesus was God and yes it was for the greater good, but when I think on what he went through and how that message translates today I can’t help but feel deeply, deeply moved.
This is a day when we can be unashamedly ashamed of the muck and the dark stuff that we deal with on a daily basis and live in hope that it can be redeemed. For those who have suffered loss and shame and humiliation throughout the past year, they can look at the cross and say I know a God who feels this pain with me. I know a God who weeps when I weep, who sent a messenger into the world to say ‘I have such an unbelievable plan for your life and if you can find the courage to walk with me I will show you a love that transforms everything, even death.’
So for those of you who like me, are feeling just a little melancholic and reflective today, give in to the feeling, let the darkness settle over you, allow yourself this moment of grief, because on Sunday the s[o]n will rise again and our spirits will be refreshed as we remember it wasn’t a meaningless death, it was self-sacrificial loving at its best.
‘It is finished.’ (John 19:30)
‘I have done what I came to do’ says Jesus. ‘I have been faithful to the end and in my love and in my sacrifice people can now know, I am who I said I was. I am your son.’
‘I am the incarnation of all that you hoped creation would be. All that creation still can be, courageous and loving, kind and humble, wise and forgiving – whole, peaceful, complete.’
The end becomes the beginning.
The suffering is over.
The redemption fulfilled.
The darkest hour the world has ever known, resting now in grief and mourning, the veil tears, the message is translated …
He loved us, he loves us.
It is finished.