summer solstice!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Easter 4 A Study

I found another class handout from spring 2005—year A; here it is.

Acts 2:42-47

42 They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

43 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! 44 And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common 45 sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.

46 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, 47 as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. MSG

Review: Acts 1:1 - 2:41
  • Ascension
  • Day of Pentecost


Acts 2:42-47, Word Study
  • 42 Teaching "of the apostles" | didache - in Greek
  • life together | community, common, koinonia - in Greek
  • common meal | Greek: "breaking of bread" | Holy Communion, Eucharist, Lord's Supper?
  • Prayers...who, when, where, why and how?
  • 43 Awe in every soul, psyche - in Greek. What familiar word begins with "psych?"
  • Wonders and signs | semeia - in Greek, like the English, "semaphore!" | Through the apostles; how?
  • 45 Selling possessions and sharing the proceeds fulfilled the Jubilee Jesus announced at the very beginning of his public ministry.
  • 47 Liked what they saw - the Greek is charis, the same word we use for grace; we also get charisma and charismatic from the same root word!


Acts 2:42-47, Where we Live
  1. Have you experienced the kind of community this text describes?
  2. How does this church do in terms of: teaching; community; prayer and worship; sharing resources; service to one another and to the surrounding neighborhoods?
  3. What aspect of the early church do you most want for yourself? For this congregation?

Friday, March 30, 2007

theology of the cross 6

Although I planned this sixth class for NPC as a wrap and recap of the previous five, it was Palm / Passion Sunday, everyone participated in Holy Week and Easter prep so we didn't meet. I offered this series at OS-ELCA-NP for the adults for the five evenings of VBS during summer 2007, so we would not have needed a sixth session there anyway.


Theology of the Cross: what does this mean for the Church’s and especially for this congregation’s life and mission?
1. Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter's power;
Your Redeemer's conflict see, watch with Him one bitter hour,
Turn not from His griefs away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

2. See Him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall! O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.

3. Calvary's mournful mountain climb; there, adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time, God's own sacrifice complete. "It is finished!" hear Him cry; learn of Jesus Christ to die.

4. Early hasten to the tomb where they laid His breathless clay;
All is solitude and gloom. Who has taken Him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes; Savior, teach us so to rise.

James Montgomery, in Selection of Psalms and Hymns, by Thomas Cotterill (London: 1820).
The cross of Calvary forms the ultimate type and reality of God’s characteristically hidden and paradoxical, sacramental presence in the commonest things, situations and people. Especially in the cross we learn God totally subverts evil for good, as the death of Jesus Christ becomes a redemptive reality for all creation.

Throughout the witness of scripture, we find God's Self-revelation from a series of mountains: the Mount Sinai Covenant recorded in Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21; the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-11 (there's the parallel Sermon on the Plain plus in Luke 6:17...); the Transfiguration, with Mount Tabor, rising out of the Jezreel Valley as one of the traditional suspects; finally, Mount Calvary brings God's definitive self-revelation, and ultimate covenant! (I love the name of the hymn tune, Bryn Calfaria...)

New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:31-34; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 22:[19]-20; 2 Corinthians 3:4-8; read the book of Acts!

New Covenant: On the day of Pentecost, Jews commemorated the Sinai Covenant; on the Christian Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Spirit through which God enables us to perform the New Covenant. Read the book of Acts!

Jesus said, "Do this!" Do this liturgical action? In the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls the church―
  • As the body of the risen Christ, the Bread of Life, to nourish the world, especially the stranger, the outcast and the "other";
  • As branches of Jesus, the Vine, to pour out our lives to those around us.

12. What does the cross mean for the world in which we live and serve?

Martin Luther begins his Small Catechism – traditional preparation for First Communion – with the 10 Commandments. Walter Brueggemann observes, "It is the God of the Commandments with whom we commune!" In the Book of Common Prayer, The Holy Eucharist, Rite One, begins with the Ten Commandments―with the Great Commandment as an alternative.

We’ve been discussing God’s action and presence in the sacraments, considered a “means of grace.” American theologian Robert McAfee Brown suggested that people who aren’t practicing justice and righteousness in their daily lives should be kept from the Communion Table.

Decalogue: Exodus 20:3-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21; the Great Commandment: Mark 12:28-31; Matthew 22:36-48

Some churches practice foot washing as a sacrament or as preparation for participating in the Lord's Supper. Think about it!

13. The cross of Jesus Christ: Foolishness to the Greeks and foolishness to us?

"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." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nachfolge (Discipleship)

14. Concluding questions, observations and loose ends.

For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection.

Jubilee Year Redemption for all creation: Leviticus 25:8-24; Leviticus 23 and 24:

The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

How does living as people of the cross ultimately lead to Jubilee Justice for all creation?
Let us Talents and Tongues Employ

1. Let us talents and tongues employ,
reaching out with a shout of joy:
bread is broken, the wine is poured,
Christ is spoken and seen and heard.
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the Word around: loaves abound!

2. Christ is able to make us one,
at his table he sets the tone,
teaching people to live to bless,
love in word and in deed express.
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the Word around: loaves abound!

3. Jesus calls us in, sends us out
bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
gives us love to tell, bread to share:
God, Immanuel, everywhere!
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
pass the Word around: loaves abound!

–Fred Kaan, 1975–
© Leah Chang 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Holy Week Lections

Monday

Isaiah 42:1-9
Roman Catholic reading: Isaiah 42:1-7

Psalm 36:5-11
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14
Episcopal reading: Psalm 36:5-10

Hebrews 9:11-15
Episcopal reading: Hebrews 11:39 - 12:3

John 12:1-11
Episcopal reading: same as above or Mark 14:3-9

Tuesday

Isaiah 49:1-7
Roman Catholic reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Episcopal reading: Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 71:1-14
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Episcopal reading: Psalm 71:1-12

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

John 12:20-36
Roman Catholic reading: John 13:21-33, 36-38
Episcopal reading: John 12:37-38, 42-50 or Mark 11:15-19

Wednesday

Isaiah 50:4-9

Psalm 70
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
Episcopal reading: Psalm 69:7-15, 22-23

Hebrews 12:1-3
Episcopal reading: Hebrews 9:11-15, 9:24-28

John 13:21-32
Roman Catholic reading: Matthew 26:14-25
Episcopal reading: John 13:21-35 or Matthew 26:1-5, Matthew 26:14-25

Thursday

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
Roman Catholic reading: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14
Episcopal reading: Exodus 12:1-14a

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Episcopal reading: Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Episcopal reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, (27-32)

John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Roman Catholic reading: John 13:1-15
Episcopal reading: John 13:1-15 or Luke 22:14-30

Friday

Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12
Episcopal reading: Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 or Genesis 22:1-18 or Wisdom 2:1, 12-24

Psalm 22
Roman Catholic reading: Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Episcopal reading: Psalm 22:1-21 or Psalm 22:1-11 or Psalm 40:1-14 or Psalm 69:1-23

Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Roman Catholic reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Episcopal reading: Hebrews 10:1-25

John 18:1 - 19:42
Episcopal reading: (John 18:1-40), 19:1-37

Friday, March 23, 2007

Theology of the Cross 5

Theology of the Cross 5 | Lent 5 | 25 March 2007

Theology of the Cross:
what does this mean for the Church’s and especially for this congregation’s life and mission?

A Tree on Your Back

1. We meet you, O Christ, in many a guise,
your image we see in simple and wise.
You live in a palace, exist in a shack;
we see you the gardener, a tree on your back.

2. In millions alive, away and abroad;
involved in our life, you live down the road.
Imprisoned in systems, you long to be free;
we see you, Lord Jesus, still bearing your tree.

3. We hear you, O man, in agony cry;
for freedom you march, in riots you die.
Your face in the papers we read and we see.
The tree must be planted by human decree.

4. You choose to be made at one with the earth;
the dark of the grave prepares for your birth.
Your death is your rising, creative your word;
the tree springs to life and our hope is restored..

–Fred Kaan, 1966

The cross of Calvary forms the ultimate type and reality of God’s characteristically hidden and paradoxical, sacramental presence in the commonest things, situations and people. Interpreting scripture, sacraments, everything in our lives and in the world with "What preaches Christ."
  • Last week we talked some about God’s action and presence in the sacraments – considered a “means of grace” in this tradition – and began imagining ways we can be a means of grace in the world around us.

  • It’s impossible to separate out today’s discussion topics, so I’ve suggested some texts and ideas to get us started.

A Theology of Baptism

Galatians 3:26-29; Titus 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans 6:1-14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Mark 1:4-11; Matthew 3:11-17; Luke 3:15-22

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann describes baptism as “sign, witness, representation and illumination of the Christ Event”; we can claim the same about the Eucharist. We know Jesus Christ as sovereign, prophet and priest; alive in Christ, we participate in that royal, prophetic priesthood. Especially in regard to those roles, how can our lives signify, witness to, represent and illuminate the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ?

Contextualizing Baptism

We are baptized for events like 9/11; we are baptized to be the Christ alongside our friends, relatives and neighbors; we are baptized to not be an exclusive community, but to risk reaching out to image and model Jesus Christ to the world – including those who are culturally, ethnically, chronologically, occupationally, educationally different from us; to recognize Jesus Christ in others and to be the presence of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ in their lives.

A Theology of the Eucharist

1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Mark 14:22-25; Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-20; Luke 24:30-31; John 6:33; John 6:51; John 6:56

Jesus said, “Do this!” Do this liturgical action?

Contextualizing Eucharist

Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life; I am the Vine!” In every culture, grain products form a substantial nutritional base; the grain may be rice, wheat, corn, wheat, barley...the fruit of the vine is a potent and pervasive biblical symbol, and beyond there and then, lately we’ve been learning a lot about grape’s benefits! In the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls the church—
  • As the body of the risen Christ, the Bread of Life, to nourish the world, especially the stranger, the outcast and the ‘other’

  • Like the Eucharist, to reveal Jesus’ crucified body in its redeeming brokenness

  • To reveal Christ’s risen body in its liberating wholeness

  • As branches of Jesus, the Vine, to pour out our lives to those around us

9. What does the cross mean for each of us as individuals?

Galatians 3:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24: 44-49; Acts 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; 1 Peter 2:9-10

10. What does the cross mean for this church community?

From Water Buffalo Theology: Suffering because we’re involved with others, involved with the other; participating in the “glory of the crucified Lord”. My note: the same Paul of Tarsus also talks about “the glory of the children of God!” And isn’t our glory as God’s offspring also a crucified glory and a risen glory?

11. What does all of this mean for our nearby neighbors?

When I was on staff at the church in City of History, I wrote their Mission Statement:
We are the people of God, forgiven and set free by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; by the power of the Holy Spirit we are called together and sent into the world as witnesses to his resurrection. God calls us, a servant people, to proclaim in word and action the presence of the risen Lord to all those whom our lives touch, especially in this community.
The author of Water Buffalo Theology talks about “neighborology”—the word about the neighbor! The Bible and Jesus Christ reveal God’s attachment to the world of creation to the point of learning and knowing us so completely as to walk in our sandals (Tevas, or flip-flops or boots or snow boots...) and to die a physical death, just as all of us inevitably will. Especially in the shadow of the cross, how can we practice neighborology?

© Leah Chang 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Theology of the Cross 4

The class also will get a 2-page handout with some Heidelberg Catechism and some Q&A from the 1998 Study Catechism of the PC(USA); I chose those two because Luther's Small and the Shorter Westminster probably are more familiar in this country.

Theology of the Cross: what does this mean for the Church’s and especially for this congregation’s life and mission?
Here we will take the wine and the water;
here we will take the bread of new birth,
here you shall call your sons and your daughters,
call us anew to be salt for the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion;
give us to eat the bread that is you;
nourish us well, and teach us to fashion
lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

Marty Haugen, Here in This Place/Gather Us In, © 1982 GIA Publications, Inc.

I, the Lord of font and cup,
covenant to lift you up.
Splash the water, break the bread; pour out your lives.
Faithfully my love you’ll show,
so their hearts will always know,
They are mine eternally...

© Linda LeBron, 2002

Theology 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. 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.

•Interpreting scripture, sacraments and everything in our lives and in the world with “What preaches Christ.” Especially look for God’s hidden yet apparent presence and for “Types of Christ.” Imagine the classic attributes of God through the lens of the cross!

8. The Cross and the Sacraments

Study Catechism of the Presbyterian Church (USA), 1998

Question 70. What is the main difference between baptism and the Lord’s Supper?

While I receive baptism only once, I receive the Lord’s Supper again and again. Being unrepeatable, baptism indicates not only that Christ died for our sins once and for all, but that by grace we are also united with him once and for all through faith. Being repeatable, the Lord’s Supper indicates that as we turn unfilled to him again and again, our Lord continually meets us in the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and deepen our faith.

a. A Theology of Baptism

Galatians 3:26-29; Titus 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans 6:1-14; Ephesians 4:4-6; Mark 1:4-11; Matthew 3:11-17; Luke 3:15-22

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann describes baptism as “sign, witness, representation and illumination of the Christ Event.” We can claim the same about the Eucharist.
In baptism, God and the church claim us in covenant...baptized, we live reborn into the water of Jesus’ birth and we are alive in the fire of his death—the transforming, rebirthing power of the cross. As a baptized people, we no longer live under the reign of death, its idols and its artifacts, but in the alternative community countering the individualisms of covetousness, greed, commoditization, consumption, superfluity, satiation, and (ultimately) despair.

b. A Theology of the Eucharist

1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Mark 14:22-25; Matthew 26:26-29 ; Luke 24:30-31; John 6:33; John 6:51; John 6:56

Jesus said, “Do this!” Do this liturgical action? In the Eucharist, the entire church and all creation in every age and time comes together; this is an action of the whole, entire church! Farmers, vintners, truckers, weavers, potters, storekeepers, builders, bakers, more... Moltmann said Christ’s invitation is prevenient. William Stringfellow says (paraphrased, from An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land) the Bread and Cup are “tokens of the Resurrection” and these “tokens...are discerned as the Word of God indwelling all creation and transfiguring human history.” Martin Luther: the ubiquity of the risen and ascended Christ.

  • Recall Israel and desert manna, enabling God’s people to live precariously in the wilderness
  • Bread = nourishing = body that is broken unto death and raised to new life
  • Christ’s body = revealed in the breaking of bread / body
  • Church = Body of the risen Christ = nourishing the world, especially the stranger, the outcast and the ‘other’
  • Church / reveals Jesus’ crucified body in its redeeming brokenness
  • Church / reveals Christ’s risen body in its liberating wholeness


Heidelberg Catechism, 1563

Question 76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become more and more united to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone” and that we live, and are governed forever by one spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul.

The Holy Supper...but it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul.

© Leah Chang 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Theology of the Cross 3

Theology of the Cross 3 | Lent 3 | 11 March 2007

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 City

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
Theology 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.
  • Law and Gospel; interpreting scripture and life with “What preaches Christ.”
6. Paul and his ilk; Martin Luther: the cross as Weltanschauung, as an all-encompassing worldview. Why?

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

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Water Buffalo Theology notes

Over on my main theology blog I've posted the handouts for last Sunday's and tomorrow's Theology of the Cross classes:


Since I've been blogging on a reasonably regular basis on all my blogs, this time I'm not cross-posting from there to here. However, today I'm posting here the 2-page handout of some of my ideas from Water Buffalo Theology I'll give the class tomorrow. Ages ago I blogged most of my notes from our online discussion; Water Buffalo Theology, which is ecological theology, liberation theology and an offering in the Christian-Buddhist dialogue formed the main impetus towards my wanting to develop a course on the subject for the local church. We used the 25th anniversary edition of the book, published by Orbis—no surprise, right?! On Amazon I discovered Kosuke Koyama has written what I assume is a companion book, No Handle on the Cross: An Asian Meditation on the Crucified Mind.

Water Buffalo Theology notes | Theology of the Cross class 2

During spring 2003 I participated in an online discussion of Water Buffalo Theology by Kosuke Koyama on the old United Church of Christ forums; WBT is liberation theology, ecological theology and an offering in the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. The book contained a lot of theology of the cross and lots of Luther (except for the chapter based on the epistle of James...). What struck me most about the book were the contrasts the author drew between Christianity and Buddhism! My notes added up to around 40 pages—here’s a very small sample of the notes I posted during the conversation.
Part I: Interpreting History | Chapter 1: Theological Situations in Asia and the Mission of the Church

In the Church our formal symbols are scriptures and sacraments. But how about the symbolic meaning of potluck dinners, committees, worship style, social and political activism? Thailand’s cultural symbols include sticky-rice, bananas, and the rainy season; the state of Maine might include blueberries and lobsters. For San Diego, try Big Box retailers (like the rest of the country), surfers and surfing.

More thoughts about Hong Kong, homecoming and us:

Though initially it may sound astounding to make Jakarta or anywhere else “as central as Jerusalem,” if the person and work of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ is not for Jakarta just as much as it is for Jerusalem, he truly is not Lord of all.

Koyama asks where Hong Kong can celebrate homecoming; I believe Hong Kong will be able to celebrate homecoming (after all, isn’t homecoming the ultimate thanksgiving?) within a community gathered not only to perfunctorily and ritually evoke the presence of the risen Christ in Word and Sacrament, but when that assembly attests to the presence of the Christ in each other, having gone slowly enough to ignore at least some of the noisiness of commerce and consumerism, having decided to seek the welfare of the place where they are rather than seeking the wellbeing of their purses and properties: looking outward to the other’s interests and inward to a relational and re-creative self.

Chapter 3: Gun and Ointment | The Future of the Christian World Mission in Asia

Kosuke Koyama says Jesus’ anointing shows, “the substance and manner of God’s participation in history.” During Holy Week 2003 I blogged about Jesus’ anointing! Rather than being anointed by the temple hierarchy and the theological establishment – all guys – to reign alive in the material glory of sumptuous palatial opulence within the humanly established imperial structure, Jesus was anointed into his death in the glory of the cross by a woman, who because of gender and caste could have no part in the temple array. That woman, who to us is nameless, anointed Jesus at the house of a person totally outcast from polite society, far outside of the world’s sanctioned arrangements and expectations but right within God’s order that invalidates and inverts most imaginings of what should be: the way of the Cross.

Prayer and hymn singing in the vernacular is one of Luther’s Marks of the True Church; I’m convinced Evangelism in the vernacular also needs to happen for the Church; what would evangelism in the vernacular mean to us? For Luther, suffering and persecution also defines the true Church. At the end of chapter 3, Koyama asks, “How can the Christian mission do this [stand against the guns and give passionate encouragement to all the ointments] unless it begins itself to live under the sentence of death?”

Chapter 4: The “Efficiency” of the Crucified One in the World of Technological Efficiency

In Chapter 1 the author describes Christianity’s way as slow! And now he’s writing about the amazingly “inefficient investment” of God’s nomadic peregrinations in the desert to learn the people’s hearts and to teach them one does not live by bread alone. In this context, investment is an interesting word! But God also remains faithful to providing for our material needs, and partly because of this he logically observes, “The Lordship of God has a historical substance…It is the crucified Jesus Christ in Golgotha under Pontius Pilate.” Koyama calls Jesus of Nazareth a “spiritual” Messiah, but asks if technology should be our Messiah. However, I’ll ask if technology is part of God’s provision for our physical, earthly needs? Or is technology humanity’s answer to our wants?

Part II: Rooting the Gospel | Chapter 6: Aristotelian Pepper and Buddhist Salt

Our particularly Western propensity is to equate love with emotional attachment, rather than the agape “will to love,” but the Bible and Jesus reveal God’s attachment to the world of creation as a passionate - an ardent and erotic - attachment!

Chapter 7: Neighborology

From Kosuke Koyama, the book’s author: “How can anyone be a teacher of religion unless he is at home with the language of the people?”

Chapter 8: The Wrath of God in a Culture of Tranquility

Introducing the chapter on page 68, he asks, “What is the matter with this God,” who becomes perturbed to the point of wrath?! This God is no human invention! On page 72 the author says the theology of the God not-in-history “is also the theology of God who is held captive in the continual cyclical flow of cosmic time and cannot meaningfully be moved to wrath.” This essentially is a domesticated God, of course. Finally, the not-historical God is a God continuous with humanity, with no disruption between finite and infinite.

Part III: Interpreting Thai Buddhist Life | Chapter 12: Cool Arhat and Hot God

Covenant is a hot concept, since real relationship never is cool. Buddhist holy life is lived to escape completely from existence, while Christian holy life is lived in order to be completely engaged in existence. God creates in order to have a creation to become attached to! As Koyama aptly says, this covenant-awareness has given sharp focus to history-awareness. Theologically speaking, history is the experience of covenant; evangelism means bringing the experience of covenanted relationship lived within history rather than outside of history.

Chapter 13: Apostle James in Thailand

Moving away from Luther! This chapter concisely describes how we need to live out our lives in Christ both hot-ly and cool-ly! Again Koyama reminds us the Buddha’s type of detachment includes detachment from even the very idea of oneself. Risk also is a hot concept, and Jesus calls us to a life of constant risk, but a life that shows no partiality, coolly imitating our God who “is not partial.” To become involved in the world without becoming attached to the world, or more accurately, without becoming attached to the powerful pull of the world’s fleeting, ephemeral and corrupting pleasure. Page 122: if we’re cool, “the King of Death cannot seize” us! That is so Jesus, so Paul!

Part IV: Interpreting the Christian Life | Chapter 15: Tokyo and Jerusalem

Koyama says God’s first and fundamental gift to us is “the constant awareness that we are under the judgment of the Word of God.”

Chapter 18: Three Modes of Christian Presence

A hidden presence, a sacramental presence to the world. Suffering because we’re involved with others, because we’re involved in neighborology! Participating in the “glory of the crucified Lord”—the same Paul of Tarsus also talks about “the glory of the children of God!” And isn’t our glory as God’s offspring a crucified glory and a risen glory? Professor Koyama reminded us of Luther’s, “subject to none; subject to all.”

I’ll close by quoting: In this eschatological hour, God calls us to share the pathos of God, God’s pathos toward all scattered things which are held together in the glory of the crucified Lord.

Friday, March 02, 2007

theology of the cross 2

theology of the cross 3 on march 09, 2007

1 february 23, 2007

2 March 2, 2007

Theology of the Cross: what does this mean for the Church's and especially for this congregation’s life and mission?

Knowing You

1. All I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.

Chorus:
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You.
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best, You're my joy,
my righteousness; and I love You, Lord.

2. Now my heart's desire is to know You more,
to be found in You and known as Yours,
to possess by faith what I could not earn,
all surpassing gift of righteousness.
Repeat Chorus

3.Oh, to know the power of Your risen life,
and to know You in Your suffering,
to become like You in Your death,
My Lord, so with You to live and never die.
Repeat Chorus

By Graham Kendrick – based on Philippians 3:7-11; © 1993 Make Way Music

Theology 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.
  • Domesticated gods: Egyptian imperial religion; Roman imperial religion; Jerusalem Temple; contemporary consumerism
  • God of the bible: dynamic, free and elusive; the God who raises the dead
  • Three uses of the law: Martin Luther and John Calvin
  • Law and Gospel; interpreting scripture with “What preaches Christ.”
Throughout scripture, especially look for God’s hidden yet apparent presence and for "Types of Christ"

4. Paul, Mark and Jesus of Nazareth

Mark

4:35-41 – Boat on the turbulent lake; who is this?! Even the wind and the waves obey him!
8:1-9 – loaves and fishes; provision for the people.

Philippians

1:21-24 – To live is Christ; to die is gain.
2:1-11 – look to the interest of others; humbled himself unto death on the cross; Jesus is Lord
3:7-11 – count everything as loss in order to gain Christ; knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection; becoming like him in his death.

5. Mark, Paul and Jesus the Christ

Romans


3:21-26 – Righteousness from God apart from the law, but the law attests to it. Justified by grace!
3:27-31 –the law still remains in its entirety; cross as both judgment and grace; the cross of Calvary is both God’s No and God’s Yes to the world.
6:1-10 – Baptized into death and resurrection; united with Christ in both death and resurrection; no longer slaves to sin.
  • Revelation 22:1-5 – the River of Life flows from the throne of God—from the cross.
8:1-4 – because of IX, we no longer live under the law’s condemnation
10:1-4 – Christ is the end of the law; righteousness for all who have faith in Christ

Mark

Particularly in Mark’s gospel, the journey to Jerusalem and to the cross is incessant and focused.

1:1-13 – gospel of IX, Son of God; IX baptizes with the HS; Jesus’ baptism; God’s claim on him. Spirit drove Jesus into the desert.
5:35-43 – raising Jairus’ daughter from death [sleep?!]; giving her food.
8:27-29 – Some say John the Baptist; some say Elijah. Who do you say I am? The Christ!
9:35 – to be first, you must be the last and the servant of all.
10:35-40 – you do not know what you are asking; baptism; cup; places you’re prepared for.
10:43-45 – servant is the greatest; first is slave of all. Jesus, the Human One came to serve and to give his life as a ransom.
14:22-25 – Last Supper; broken body; blood of the covenant.

© Leah Chang 2007