Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)
Good Friday is the day Christians declare that “God is dead… We have killed him – you and I! We are all his murderers.” The Saturday following is the observance that Jesus lay in the tomb. For Christians, we await the resurrection that comes Sunday. The Apostles, however, were not offered an immediate explanation: the crucifixion was met with confusion and desperation. Behind our explanations of Christ’s death, we must not forget the tragedy of the divine separation of the Son from the Father. We need to take this tragedy — this divine separation — more seriously.
What if we read Christ’s death in Mark’s gospel with us keeping the relationship of the Trinity in mind? I argue that this should be a foundational reading to truly grasp the weight of Christianity.
Before I dive into this topic, I’d like to echo the sentiments of G.K. Chesterton:
“I approach a matter more dark and awful than it is easy to discuss; and I apologize in advance if any of my phrases fall wrong or seem irreverent“. But in my tip-toeing around sacred ground, I want to ask: How seriously do we take “the cry from the cross: The cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God”?
Another post of mine on The Unitive for Holy Saturday!
I attended an Orthodox service with my girlfriend Aubrey when I recently visited California.
The experience was a mixture of awe, mystery, and familiarity.
Taiwan Experiences, circa Mar 2012 by Megan -
Today I came across an old chat conversation in which Alvin, a new friend at the time, asked me a few questions about my experiences in Taiwan. As it happens, this conversation happened 365 days ago, haha. Many of you back home have asked me, “What’s it like in Taiwan?” and I’ve never been able to answer that very well, so perhaps this more detailed (and slightly edited) Q&A session will provide more details than I’ve shared in the past. I really enjoyed reading back over it and was also challenged by the realization that I’m not as mission-minded as I was last year.I hope you will also enjoy reading it, and please pray for me if I ever come to mind!(Thanks again, Alvin, for asking such meaningful questions. Having this conversation made me realize things that I hadn’t previously recognized. As always, you help me develop my thoughts, and you are a great encouragement to my faith.)
Megan is a Christian living in Taiwan as a teacher. Read up a little bit on her experience!
Over the past few months, I have been convinced that the modern agricultural industry is incompatible with my responsibility to steward creation. This has led me to certain clear choices about what I will and will not eat.
A thought provoking and challenging post by Abbie!
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, [Christ] likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death.
- Hebrews 2:14-15, NRSV
The Devil and Death
I do not want to linger on the controversial identity of the “devil” (as either fallen angel or being from chaos), but within this discussion it will suffice to say that the devil is an agent against God - an Antichrist, for lack of a better term. It then becomes interesting that the author of Hebrews notes that “the power of death” belongs to the devil. Within some theological frameworks, God “gives and takes away” — in other words, God has the power of life and death. How, then, does the devil have the power of death? The issue is sometimes resolved by stating that the devil cannot act without permission by God. To restate: The devil can only exercise the power of death when God permits the devil to do so.
But is this how the biblical narrative functions in the New Testament?
Is God at war with God’s permissive activity of the devil and God’s activity through Christ over humanity?
Another great post by Scott!
When God Doesn’t Listen
Imagine, with me:
A growing church is preparing for their next service. The preaching-teaching pastor has been laboring over a text’s meaning. The music team is perfecting their transitions between songs. Lights are programmed to fit in with the mood of each change. The video team is putting together a film in relation to the sermon. The flow of the service is discussed and then printed out.
Sunday morning rolls around.
You enter the sanctuary and it is packed. You feel the strong energy in the room, the lights are just right, the music is loud, the expression on everyone’s face is passionate and animated. The sermon is powerfully delivered, the video is moving, prayers are heartfelt, and even some tears are shed. You and everyone around feel the unity of this local church. You and the congregation, moved in your hearts and overwhelmed by awe, disperse for lunch.
And now imagine God putting the divine hands over divine ears and weeping.
Many familiar with the above would call this “worship”, but is it really worship if God is not listening?
Without God listening, it is no more than a show or a carnival.
An article I wrote for The Unitive. Check it out!