Theology of the Cross: what does this mean for the Church’s and especially for this congregation’s life and mission?
All Who Love and Serve Your CityTheology of glory vs. theology of the cross: Theologians of the cross build their theology in the light of God’s own revelation of himself, particularly God’s self-revelation in Christ crucified. In addition, the cross of Calvary forms a paradigm and model for God’s characteristically hidden and paradoxical, sacramental presence in the commonest things, situations and people.
1. All who love and serve your city,
all who bear its daily stress,
all who cry for peace and justice,
all who curse and all who bless,
2. In your day of loss and sorrow,
in your day of helpless strife,
honor, peace, and love retreating,
seek the Lord, who is your life.
3. In your day of wrath and plenty,
wasted work and wasted play,
call to mind the word of Jesus,
“I must work while it is day.”
4. For all days are days of judgment,
and the Lord is waiting still,
drawing near a world that spurns him,
offering peace from Calvary’s hill.
5. Risen Lord! shall yet the city
be the city of despair?
Come today, our Judge, our Glory;
be its name, “The Lord is there!”
Words: Erik Routley © 1969 by Stainer & Bell Ltd., administered by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188
- Law and Gospel; interpreting scripture and life with “What preaches Christ.”
Romans; Philippians—texts we looked last Sunday.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – we are a new creation; ministry of reconciliation
Colossians 1:15-20 – Christ reconciled all to himself, making peace through his shed blood
Colossians 2:9-15 – buried and raised with Christ, who disarmed and made a public spectacle of the powers and authorities
Hebrews 12:1-3 – for the joy set before him endured the cross; not the when or why of bad things happening to good people, but the how of God blessing us and all creation
Acts 1:5-8 – restore the Kingdom to Israel? In the power of the HS we are witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth!
Luther spoke about “The God Who became small for us in Christ”—small enough to die.
From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nachfolge (Discipleship): “When Christ calls us, he bids us come and die...to go one’s way under the sign of the cross is not misery and desperation, but peace and refreshment for the soul, it is the highest joy...we do not walk under our self-made laws and burdens, but under the yoke of him who knows us and walks under the yoke with us.”
Great Ends of the Church 6: The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world – that’s us!
To the five Reformation solas – Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria – theologian Martin Marty adds a sixth: Cross Alone - Sola crux.
7. Some familiar theologians of the cross
Especially look for God’s hidden yet apparent presence and for “Types of Christ.” Today’s discussion primarily is about discovering lives that preach Christ crucified – and risen. However, it’s not only about being the presence of Christ to and for the world, living a responsive yet unassuming servant lifestyle that may take us to the Cross of Calvary; it also includes recognizing the presence of Christ in the world and in our neighbors. Matthew 25:31-40 – Lord, when did we see you hungry...”
For starters, here’s a very short list: Bonhoeffer; Dorothy Day; Gandhi; Martin Luther King; Desmond Tutu; Mother Teresa; us! Who else comes to mind? Some of our relatives, friends and neighbors? In the church and out of the church? Christian and not? Describe and explain.
A few days I was listening to Lionel Richie’s song, “Endless Love.” “My love, there’s only you in my life; you’re every breath I take; you’re every step I make, and I want to share all my love with you. Two heart, two hearts that beat as one...and love, I’ll be a fool for you – my endless love” reminds me of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ and of the foolish love any theologian of the cross has for all creation.
Considering these theologians of the cross—including us, particularly vis-à-vis our immediate neighbors, how do we become fools for love? Paul describes the cross as a scandal, a stumbling block to trip into and fall over to Jews who emphasize keeping the law to the extreme, and as complete foolishness to Greeks – or to anyone who aspires to high levels of intellectual pretense. Think about both of those aspects!
© Leah Chang 2007