Posts tagged: Suffering
This week is Transfiguration Sabbath at CrossWalk. The lectionary readings come from Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2; and Luke 9:28-36, (37-43). I am focusing on the Gospel reading for my sermon this week, but I’m weaving all of the readings together to make my point. Dwelling in these passages leaves me in awe of God’s humility. What kind of a God chooses to reveal his glory to the world through suffering (Lk. 9:57-62) and brokenness (2 Cor. 4)? Would anyone choose to make up this kind of god? We want temples and shrines for our gods. But the God of the Gospels gets things done another way. And our “departure” (Lk. 9:31) is the same—the path of Jesus Christ and his radical call to discipleship. So what are the implications? How about the church is meant to give herself away rather than prop herself up with success, impressing people with her buildings, attendance, or cash (a kind of pseudo-glory)? Seems to me, Jesus’ path is the only way the world is transformed. I think Henry Nouwen would agree:
“Jesus showed us all that the very things we often flee – our vulnerability and mortality – can, at any moment, become the place of holy transfiguration, for us and for our world.”
- Henri Nouwen: Writings Selected With An Introduction By Robert A. Jonas
“There are no theoretical answers in the Psalms to all these questions, as there are none in the New Testament. The only real answer is Jesus Christ. But this answer is already sought in the Psalms. It is common to all of them that they cast every difficulty and agony on God: “We can no longer bear it, take it from us and bear it yourself, you alone can handle suffering.” That is the goal of all of the lamentation Psalms. They pray concerning the one who took upon himself our diseases and bore our infirmities, Jesus Christ. They proclaim Jesus Christ to be the only help in suffering, for in him God is with us.”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1970), pp. 46-9.
I just finished checking out the “Lens” blog from the New York Times. Today’s post is “On Assignment: Prayers in the Dark”, revealing some of the most horrific images I’ve ever seen (If you jump to the blog, you’ve been warned). Damon Winters of the New York Times says, “I’ve never seen anything like this, and I doubt I’ll see anything like this again. The scene at the morgue today was just utterly unbelievable.”
Like many people, I’ve asked myself why God allows something like this to happen? I was ashamed of Pat Robertson’s comments this week about God cursing the Haitian people. I’m sure it only confirms for many people that a Christian God is a vengeful God, bent on causing humanity to suffer for their sins. Do you know what came to my mind as I viewed those images? Something I once read in Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, based on his time in a Nazi concentration camp. One day he watches a young boy hanged by the Nazis. In his head Weisel hears, “Where is He [God]? Here He is–He is hanging here on this gallows.” Continue reading 'Where is He Now?'»