"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Killing God

It's coming to be Easter. A time when people's thoughts turn to daffodils, bunnies, chocolate and ...

"Why, exactly, did God kill Jesus?"

The other day I reluctantly entered a discussion on Facebook initiated by neXus church in BC. The whole thing surrounded conservative vs liberal theology; the role of other religions; universalism; and the point of Jesus' dying. I had been thinking of writing a blog on this topic anyway, so I jumped right in. Below is essentially my first post in that discussion, but fleshed out a bit for this blog.

It is only in the past couple of months that I have come to understand that Grace is EVERYTHING. Barth has said that the gospel - the "Good News" - is Grace. And by Grace I don't mean the narrow view that most evangelicals have of that word that restricts its meaning to something concerning atonement. When I say Grace I mean; love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance - true Grace. I have come to realise there's nothing that can separate us from the Grace of God. NOTHING. We don't have to accept it, or reject it. To place any kind of condition on the Grace of God is to diminish it.

The only thing we have to do is to accept the fact that it's free.

If you start to think about the unconditional, unrelenting, all consuming Grace of God, a lot more things start to make sense in the bible. Grace is the reason God chose a pig headed people like the Israelites. Grace is the reason God called an adulterer like David a man after his own heart. Grace is the reason God chose an inconsistent person like Peter to be the rock of the Church. Grace is the reason Jesus ended up with a disciple like Judas.

God's Grace is beyond us. It's beyond our actions or our decisions. It's beyond anything we can say or do, or anything we don't say, or don't do. It has nothing to do with us.

Barth also said that the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that the Christian knows he is saved. On the surface this may seem very superficial and universal, but if you think about it, it's more profound than it initially appears. The person who knows he is saved will (should) go out and start to act like it, which is what Jesus talked about all through his ministry on earth - the Kingdom of God.  We need Christians to start acting like Christians right here and now. Not to act like they've got their ticket to heaven, and they're just waiting to get on the bus.

God's Grace is holding the door of the bus open for everyone - with, or without, a ticket.

Although there is value in other religions, we still need Christianity. Christians, the ones who know they are saved, who have an experiential knowledge of God's Grace, are supposed to be the ones showing people how to live in the radical, kingdom, Grace filled way portrayed by Jesus.

Why then, if it's just about living a good life now, did Jesus have to die you ask. Good question. I've wondered this for a lot of years and I suspect that there are several different layers of meaning to it. But part of it, I've just come to realise, is to show that the Grace of God is so sufficient, so pervasive, that you can even kill God and he will still extend his Grace to us in resurrection. And that my friends, should spur us on to extending that same Grace to everyone we encounter.

The Kingdom of God realised.

And by the way, when Jesus told the thief on the cross that today he would be with him in paradise, he didn't turn to the other thief and say; "and you won't".

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