Christ speaks in stories as a way of preparing his followers to stake their lives on a story, because existence is not a puzzle to be solved, but a narrative to be inherited and undergone and transformed person by person.
The frustration we feel when trying to explain or justify God, whether to ourselves or to others, is a symptom of knowledge untethered from innocence, of words in which no silence lives, of belief occurring wholly on a human plane. Innocence returns us to the first call of God, to any moment in our lives when we were rendered mute with awe, fear, wonder. Absent this, there is no sense in arguing for God in order to convince others, for we ourselves are not convinced.
The One who asked that the cup of rejection might be removed from his lips does not summon his disciples to a life of moral rigor alone. He is not appealing for them courageously to transform their torment into understanding. Nor does he speak out of dread for his own imminent and supremely unjust death. He is pleading that his Kingdom might come by some other means than the cruciform suffering that his disciples will surely encounter because of their faithfulness to him and his gospel. As with the silent but firm answer that Jesus receives in Gethsemane, so with the equally clear though implied answer to Sunday’s hard query: There is no other way than the Cross.
I recently reached a nice round number of Tumblr followers, a number that honestly kind of shocks me given how absent I’ve been lately from Tumblr and from the internet in general (my pageviews are way lower now than they were when I had 100 followers though, so someone explain that to me).
General housekeeping things:
Yea, we are very sick and sad
Who bring good news to all mankind.
This austere and reticent approach to the language of Christian hope springs from Williams’ most elemental intuition: that it is Jesus who teaches us to speak of God; that the bleak landscapes of Gethsemane and Golgotha map out the strange topography of God’s inner life. At the real heart of things are kenosis, crucifixion, resurrection - in other words, tragedy and its transfiguration. Christian hope is not a cosmic optimism, not a denial of tragedy. It is the vision of a lamb standing amid the ruins of history, ‘looking as if it had been slain’ (Rev. 5:6).
Grace is forgiveness we can’t earn. Grace is the weeping father on the road. Grace is tragedy accepted with open arms, and somehow turned to good. Grace is what the wasteful death on Skull Hill did.
Mending is not the same thing as never broken. We are not being promised that it will be as if the bad stuff never happened. It’s amnesty that’s being offered, not amnesia; hope, not pretense.