The relentless love of Christ

The relentless love of Christ is evident each step of the way but it is best seen as he goes to the cross. The disciples boast, sleep, flee and finally deny, but he loved them to the end. He was betrayed but he loved the betrayer. He was abandoned but he loved those who abandoned him. When the ear of one of his captors was cut off, he restored it to wholeness. He was mocked and tormented and he loved his mockers and his tormentors. He was scourged and he loved his scourgers. He was denied and he loved his denier. He was crucified and he loved his executors. A thief appealed to him and was given the gift of paradise. And before anyone thought of asking for forgiveness he said, “Father, forgive them.”

-adapted from John S. Spong

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Face to face with God

When people think of God they often think of him more like an exalted, detached spiritual being, a great angel, in fact, without much to do with our world of space, time and matter. I’m glad they don’t believe in that God; because nor do I. I believe in the God whose exact imprint is on display gurgling in the manger, arguing in the Temple, bleeding on the cross.

I believe in the God made known in Jesus . . .

Until we come face to face with God as a baby, God as utterly vulnerable, God establishing his kingdom by living as an asylum-seeker with a price on his head, God growing up with sneers about his parentage, God announcing his kingdom and people saying he was mad, God confronting the authorities and dying a cruel death – until we come to terms with this God, until we realise that this God is far greater than all the super-spiritual beings in the cosmos, we haven’t even got on the map with Christian faith. This is God inside out: O come, let us adore him.

–N. T. Wright

The message embodied

He did not argue, as Socrates, the immortality of the soul—He raised the dead.

He did not paint in glowing colors the beauties of friendship and the need for human sympathy—He wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus.

He did not discourse on the beauty of love—He loved.

He did not prove how pain and sorrow in the universe could be compatible with the love of God—He took on Himself at the cross everything that spoke against the love of God, and through that pain and tragedy and sin showed the very love of God.

He did not merely ask men to turn the other cheek when smitten on the one, to go the second mile when compelled to go the one, to give the cloak also when sued at law and the coat was taken away, to love our enemies and to bless them—He Himself did that very thing. The servants struck him on one cheek, He turned the other cheek, and the soldiers struck Him on that; they compelled Him to go one mile from Gethsemane to the judgement hall—He went two, even to Calvary. They took away His coat at the judgement hall and He gave His seamless robe at the cross and in agony on the cross he prayed, “Father, forgive them.”

Jesus was the Concrete, for He was the Word become flesh. Had He been the Word become word He would have spun theories about life, but since He was the Word become flesh He puts shoes on all His theories and made them walk.

–E. Stanley Jones

Published in: on 06/27/2011 at 5:22  Leave a Comment  
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The Incomparable Christ

He did not merely tell us that death need have no terrors for us—He rose from the dead, and lo, now the tombs glows with light.

Many teachers of the world have tried to explain everything—they changed little or nothing. Jesus explained little and changed everything.

Many teachers have told us why the patient is suffering and that he should bear it with fortitude—Jesus tells him to take up his bed and walk.

Many philosophers speculate on how evil entered the world—Jesus presents Himself as the way by which it shall leave.

He did not go into long discussions about the way to God and the possibility of finding Him—He quietly said to men, “I am the Way.”

Many speculate with Pilate and ask “What is truth?” Jesus shows Himself and says, “I am the Truth.”

Spencer defined physical life for us as response to environment—Jesus defines life itself by presenting himself and saying, “I am the Life.” Anyone who looks upon Him knows in the inmost depths of his soul that he is looking on Life itself…

Everything He said He did—and more. For His life was greater than His words. Words never have had such weight of meaning.

—E. Stanley Jones

Published in: on 06/26/2011 at 4:57  Leave a Comment  
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Practice resurrection

Every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Love someone who doesn’t deserve it. Plant sequoias. Be joyful even though you’ve considered the facts. Practice resurrection.

–Wendell Berry

Published in: on 06/25/2011 at 19:05  Leave a Comment  
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Crowded by kindness

Seek to cultivate
a buoyant,
joyous sense
of the crowded
kindnesses of God
in your daily life.
–Alexander MacLaren

 

 

Not just in heaven

We look for visions of heaven
and we never dream
that all the time God is
in the commonplace things
and people around us.

—Oswald Chambers

 

Published in: on 06/24/2011 at 15:32  Leave a Comment  
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Glimpses of heaven

When you painted on earth . . .
it was because
you caught glimpses of Heaven
in the earthly landscape.

–C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 06/23/2011 at 17:00  Leave a Comment  
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Shattering our ideas about God

My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself… Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence? The incarnation is the supreme example. It leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins.

–C. S. Lewis 

The seeker is God

So long as we imagine
it is we who have to look for God,
we must often lose heart.
But it is the other way about —
He is looking for us.

–Simon Tugwell

Published in: on 06/21/2011 at 1:04  Leave a Comment  
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Something to share

Every one of us is something the other is not, and therefore knows something — it may be without knowing that he knows it — which no one else knows. It is everyone’s business as one of the kingdom of light and inheritor in it all, to give his portion to the rest.

–George MacDonald

Published in: on 06/20/2011 at 3:45  Leave a Comment  
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A love game

. . . It would be a mistake to give the impression that the Christian doctrine of God is a matter of clever intellectual word games or mind games. For Christians it’s always a love game: God’s love for the world calling out an answering love from us, enabling us to discover that God not only happens to love us (as though this was simply one aspect of his character) but the he is love itself.

–N. T. Wright

Published in: on 06/18/2011 at 15:38  Leave a Comment  
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The world’s treasure

The World is poor
because her fortune is buried in the sky
and all her treasure maps
are of the earth.

–Calvin Miller

Published in: on 06/15/2011 at 0:01  Leave a Comment  
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Attached to a Person

In conversion you are not attached primarily to an order, nor to an institution, nor a movement, nor a set of beliefs, nor a code of action — you are attached primarily to a Person, and secondarily to these other things… You are not called to get to heaven, to do good, or to be good — you are called to belong to Jesus Christ. The doing good, the being good, and the getting to heaven, are the by-products of that belonging. The center of conversion is the belonging of a person to a Person.

–E. Stanley Jones

Muffled thunder

Is this miracle enough for anybody?

Or has the thunder of “God so loved the world so much” been so muffled by the roar of religious rhetoric that we are deaf to the word that God could  have tender feelings for us?

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 06/12/2011 at 19:18  Leave a Comment  
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To know God

To know God
is to experience his love in Christ
and to return that love
in obedience.

–C. H. Dodd (1884 – 1973)

The celebration of life

Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears.

— Robert Farrar Capon

Published in: on 06/09/2011 at 17:45  Leave a Comment  
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Redefining greatness

Whenever there is trouble over who is the greatest, there is trouble over who is the least. That is the crux of the matter for us, isn’t it? Most of us know we will never be the greatest; just don’t let us be the least. Gathered at the Passover feast, the disciples were keenly aware that someone needed to wash the others’ feet. The problem was that the only people who washed feet were the least. So there they sat, feet caked with dirt. It was such a sore point that they were not even going to talk about it. No one wanted to be considered the least. Then Jesus took a towel and a basin and redefined greatness.

–Richard Foster

Published in: on 06/08/2011 at 13:41  Leave a Comment  
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Unlike any other god

The God of the Jews and Christians is unlike any other god. Dispute with Jupiter and you’ll have one of those yellow-painted wooden lightening bolts shoved down your throat. Talking back to Allah is likely to get you into even more trouble than talking back to my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Dadovitch. Try arguing with Buddha and he’ll laugh at you derisively for treating any conversation as if it referred to something real. But when you start arguing with Yahweh, he smiles, rolls up his anthropocentric sleeves, and starts to look interested. The strangest thing is that he likes losing the arguments even more than he likes winning them. Jacob, the trickster, is beloved of God. And Abraham didn’t just get away with asking, “What about if there are only twenty righteous in the city?” The God of the Jews and Christians is the only God that allows his followers to hear him say, “Oh, all right, you win.”

— Conrad Gemph

Published in: on 06/07/2011 at 1:24  Leave a Comment  
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The deepest conviction

The deepest conviction of all Christian theology
is the affirmation that the God of all the world
is like Jesus Christ.

-Elton Trueblood

Ultimate greatness

When Christ tells us
that greatness is service,
is he not telling us that
the One who is infinitely great
is the greatest servant of all—
that God is great because
His ultimate passion
is to serve?

To be loved by God

All desires but one can fail.
The only desire that is infallibly fulfilled
is the desire to be loved by God.

–Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)

Published in: on 06/04/2011 at 21:46  Leave a Comment  
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Made to be loved

We were made,
not primarily that we may love God
(though we were made for that too),
but that God may love us.

-C. S. Lewis

Only Love Sees

Love is not blind.
Love is the only thing
that sees.

–Frank Crane

Published in: on 06/03/2011 at 11:17  Leave a Comment  
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True Power

Love is the only true power,
because it is the only thing
that does not want power,
just as love is the only true wealth
because it is the only thing
that can afford
to give itself away.

–Mike Mason

Published in: on 06/01/2011 at 23:04  Leave a Comment  
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Practicing for the world to come

Love is more than the way
we practice for the world to come:
it is the world to come.
It is all that we shall be allowed to take
into the Kingdom of God.

–Mike Mason

Published in: on 06/01/2011 at 1:12  Leave a Comment  
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