As far as we know, humans are the only creatures that experience their existence as 'a dusty scuffle across a parched terrain' ; 'a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.' The gospel finds us at the level of our primal fears and longings. It imbues our living with purpose as only love can. And we are 'kept' therein by Jesus--eternally.
'Can't see the wood for the tree!' Many Bible scholars are atheists. Many experts in chapter, verse and provenance find these very useful tools for biblical research. But to what end? The Bible is not about itself; its burden is the Creator God and his self-revealing in Jesus Christ. Following the Bible can help make a person religious. But the following of Jesus makes a person better.
Many who seek redress in the courts fail to find it there. A sufficient setting right of wrongs goes begging. The strict enforcement and judicial application of the law does not amount to 'true justice.' The missing values are mercy and compassion. Were these two godly virtues more prevalent in society, there would be far less need to go to court.
Death poses a question over every human life. Why do we live; why do we die; will our living have a meaning that goes beyond death; will it have been a success of a failure? In one way or another, we all want an answer to this conundrum. Jesus meets us with his claim to be the answer to these deeply human questions. He thrills us as he does so since he seems at once to be convincingly human, and more than human. He invites us to 'cross over' with him, into life on an entire
Ideal religion centers not on our approach to God but on his approaching us. The difference between those two models of spirituality is also the difference between a dull and laborious devotion and one that causes the spirit to soar with gladness. Such joy is driven to even further heights by the fact that the One who comes to us intends never to leave. 'I will live among you.'
The stunning success of science since the 17th century made us confident enough to assert that self-conscious life is the product of time plus chance; that matter is all there is, and we are just highly sophisticated matter. But we cannot live as if that is so. Matter does not account for our propensities and appetites that look beyond it to spiritual moral considerations and spiritual values. When these go unsatisfied, our personalities pine and wither. All men and women ha
Love's chief element is giving. To give from one's surplus, from one's abundance is cheap. But to give what is irreplaceable is costly. The Firstborn son in an Ancient Near Eastern family was tantamount to the father's giving up himself; it was an unthinkable sacrifice. It illustrates God's measureless sacrifice in giving us Jesus. The Christian God's generosity costs him everything.
Horns are symbols of strength and conquering power in the Bible. Here, Babylon and Medo-Persia are in view. Amazingly, there hegemony will not be ended by power similar to theirs. Instead lowly craftsmen--builders--will put them to flight. God does not use conventional weapons to undo evil and those who oppress. Remember: Rome was conquered by a Galilean carpenter.
It's hard for us to conceive of greater personalities and greater events than those we have looked to from within our own cultural history. A man blind from his birth who has learned to make his way in the world using his stick, struggles to imagine a more dependable device than that white cane. He feels very close to it. So Jesus confronts us as superior to every other social security mechanism we have ever known.
A mother says to her small child, 'Come on sweetie, you can do it; Mommy is here.' What is she trying to achieve? Her offspring's maturity into fully functioning, self-conscious, self-determining being. If God did for us, all that he asks of us, he would do a better job of it, but we would never grow in his image; never share in his joy. Instead he ask us to take our wobbly steps, while he walks beside us.