Posted by: gcarkner | March 24, 2014

An Ode to Lent

The Season of Lent ushers in the Preeminent Celebration of the Christian Year, Easter.

N.T. Wright on Lent     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY5nQAsscxM

See the compilation God For Us: rediscovering the meaning of Lent and Easter

edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe

Lent. it is a season to slowly prepare our souls. it is a time to open ourselves to the presence of God in our lives and let angles feed us. It is a time to sit among the ashes, confident that love will abound in due time. it is a time to be washed by our tears into the water of new life, to come to ral transformation and newness ready to celebrate the feast that is given us at Easter. ~Ronald Rolheiser

Giovanni_Bellini

Andy Crouch in his book Culture Making: recovering our creative calling, (Chapter 8 “Jesus as Culture Maker”) has some brilliant insights into the difference that Jesus life, death and resurrection have for shaping the horizons of possibility (shalom and human flourishing) for societies, ancient and modern. Note also classic poems by John Donne; and Christina Rossetti

The Cross

He suffered the full weight of the human story of rebellion against God. He was literally impaled on the worst that culture can do–an instrument of torture that stood for all the other cultural dead ends of history, from spears to bombs, gas chambers to waterboards. Like all other instruments of violence, a cross is cultural folly and futility at its most horrible. (141)

The core calling of [Jesus] life is not something he does at all in an active sense–it is something he suffers. The strangest and most wonderful paradox of the biblical story is that its most consequential moment is not an action but a passion–not a doing but a suffering. (142)

“On Good Friday, love embraced suffering as Jesus drank the bitter cup. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. self-consciously followed the same journey of the suffering death of Jesus, the way of the cross, as he promoted civil rights for African-Americans in the Southern USA in the 1960s. He worked hard to replace the perverted symbol of the cross which was used as a justification for aggression, hate and violence—e.g. the Ku Klux Klan. His life quest was to restore the cross as a symbol of love, mercy, justice and non-violence. He incarnated a form of extreme love, a committed non-violent protest against systemic injustice.” ~Iwan Russell-Jones, Professor of Faith and the Arts, Regent College

The Aftershocks of the Resurrection

The resurrection was a culture-shaping event…. If indeed it happened as Jesus’ followers proclaimed, [it] changed more of subsequent human history, for more people and more cultures, than any other event one can name. See N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God. which examines it using the tools of historical research. (143)

The resurrection of Jesus is like a cultural earthquake, its epicenter located in Jerusalem in the early 30’s [C.E.], whose aftershocks are being felt in the cultural practices of people all over the world, many of whom have never heard of, and many more of whom have never believed in, its origins. (145)

The resurrection is the hinge of history–still after two thousand years as culturally far-reaching in its effects as anything that has come since. (145) It is a cultural triumph–an answer, right in the midst of human history, to all the frears of Israel in the face of its enemies. (146)

Indeed one of the most dramatic cultural effects of the resurrection is the transformation of that heinous cultural artifact known as a cross. An instrument of domination and condemnation becomes a symbol of the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed; an alternative culture where grace and forgiveness are the last word…. The cross, the worst that culture can do, is transformed into a sign of the kingdom of God–the realm of forgiveness, mercy, love and indestructible life. (146)

When a man [woman] truly and perfectly says with Jesus, and as Jesus said it, “Thy will be done,” he [she] chooses the everlasting life-cycle. The life of the Father and the Son flows through him [her]. He [she] is part of the divine organism. Then is the prayer of the Lord in him [her] fulfilled: “I am in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”

~George MacDonald, from Creation in Christ

Made for spirituality we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world. It is time, in the power of the Spirit, to take up our proper role, our full human role as agents, heralds, and stewards of the new day that is dawning. That, quite simply, is what is means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.

~N.T. Wright, Simply Christian

Dr. Gary Habermas on Transformation in Scholarship on the Resurrection:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M

Resurrection by John Donne

Moist with one drop of Thy blood, my dry soul
Shall-though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly-be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard or foul,
And life by this death abled shall control
Death, whom Thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death bring misery,
If in thy life-book my name thou enroll.
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrified,
But made that there, of which, and for which it was;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sin’s sleep and death soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last and everlasting day.

An Easter Carol by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Spring bursts to-day,
For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play.

Flash forth, thou Sun,
The rain is over and gone, its work is done.

Winter is past,
Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.

Bud, Fig and Vine,
Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine.

Break forth this morn
In roses, thou but yesterday a Thorn.

Uplift thy head,
O pure white Lily through the Winter dead.

Beside your dams
Leap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs.

All Herds and Flocks
Rejoice, all Beasts of thickets and of rocks.

Sing, Creatures, sing,
Angels and Men and Birds and everything.

All notes of Doves
Fill all our world: this is the time of loves.


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