Faith and Cross

I keep mulling two recent blog posts in relation to one another. One, inspired by Seth Godin, reflected on being patient with people who are not yet convinced. Patience is the fruit of hopeful expectation (and impatience a signal of weakness and fear).

The other was a springboard from an article on abstinence campaigns. The title says it all: Abstinence is death. And, we shouldn’t try to dress it up otherwise.

It strikes me that both draw on a common reservoir of faith. Faith walking the way of the cross.

To walk the way of the cross is to trust that God can and will bring about a better end by God’s own power than I could orchestrate on my own.

When we embrace ways of death, we entrust ourselves to the God who gives life to the dead. And this means relinquishing the power we have (all too often do actually have!) at our disposal to bring about the future we envision for ourselves and, let’s face it, the future we envision for the people around us.

6 thoughts on “Faith and Cross”

  1. So very good. I think this is the essence of what Jesus did. He died young (early 30′s). He died the lowest, most shameful form of death in that culture. He died in agony (physically & emotionally). He died hated and abandoned. Yet, that death brought life to the world in a way unimaginable. So, the more we embrace such “death” in ourselves the more we bring about life and goodness in others. This is especially true, I believe, in leadership positions among evangelicals as well as in abstinence, patience and other areas.

  2. Sometime back I read that as believers with the hope of the resurrection we are free in two important ways.

    We are free FROM this world. This world, and its world order, cannot define us. We are citizens of different realm that is not fully realized. Our identity lies there.

    But being free FROM this world also makes us free TO this world. Because this world cannot define us we are free to be different, even crazy, by this world’s standards. We are free to love and be of service to God in this world.

    I see myself as somewhat of Christian realist (enter shrieks of horror from the Hauerwasians and the Anabaptists) though not of a purely Niebuhrian variety. Our mission is to work for the greatest shalom possible in a world where shalom cannot be achieved. It is a life lived in constant tension. Error in the the direction of believing shalom is all our doing, leads to triumphalism and often captivity to ideologies … we develop a compulsion to convince/coerce others into our view of the “truth.” (How else will the truth be realized?) But error in the direction of seeing only the limitations on realizing shalom leads to an accommodating indifference … we minimize efforts to change things and encourage others to accept the “truth.”

    With each passing year I become more convinced that embracing this tension is the key. It is a polarity to be embraced, not a problem to be solved.

  3. Another application of this “death” & trust in God is in forgiveness.

    “My brother’s burden which I must bear is not only his outward lot, but quite literally his sin. The only way to bear that sin is by forgiving it in the power of the cross of Christ in which I now share … forgiveness is the Christ-like suffering which is the Christian’s duty to bear.”
    - D. Bonhoeffer

    I’ve been thinking on the same lines as Michael above. Grace & Hope free us from the world that allows us to be free to be to or “For” this world (as NTW puts it). Keller also makes good points on the importance of grace freeing us to serve (cf. Paul – Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14). This is why resurrection is so vital – and perhaps we don’t really live out the resurrection hope as we should (is this a sign of a lack of faith? It is on my part).

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