Many politically conservative Christians in America are tempted to resist, even to the point of armed rebellion, the results of the what they believe to be an illegitimate election. But Jeremiah’s letter to the exiled Jews in Babylon would point them in a different direction.
In John 1:15 John the Baptist identifies Jesus in a way that is usually translated “The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.” I propose that all three clauses should be translated temporally something like, “The one coming after me has existed since before me, because was first before me.”
The relevance of the Church is not dependent on its ability to strategically adjust its message to pertain to what the world is concerned about. Rather, the Church only needs to concern itself with being relevant to ground of all reality, God himself in Christ. Inasmuch as it does this, what the Church has to say is by definition the most relevant thing that can be said.
Being “poor in spirit”, as Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:3, is about realizing that we are bankrupt without God. When we deny the illusion that we are the masters of our own fates and confess our brokenness to God, the good news is that God is near to the brokenhearted, and where God is, there is the kingdom of heaven.
In John 20:24-28, the resurrected Jesus shows the scars of his crucifixion to his disciple Thomas, meaning the resurrected body of Jesus has scars. What does this tell us about scars, about what it means to follow Jesus, about the identity of Jesus, and about the nature of God?
In denying the accountability of the cross and pretending to sit in judgment over the Church, the claim that “The Church needs to be held accountable for its past” empties the cross of its power and brings Jesus down from the throne of judgment.
Christmas is, or at least it should be, a season of joy. But what is the joy of Christmas? Joy is the natural human response to the good news of Jesus. This joy is the inheritance of every Christian.
In Genesis 2 it says that humanity were made to work, but sin has turned our relationship to our work into one of pain and toil. Fortunately, in Jesus our work has been redeemed and no longer has to be toilsome and pointless.
When we keep our eyes focused on the immediate, we lose the perspective of eternity. However, if we will lift our eyes to the transcendent Jesus, everything, including the immediate, comes into proper perspective.
Some initial thoughts about the first volume of Joseph Ratzinger’s trilogy, Jesus of Nazareth.