October 22, 2013

Remembering Tragedy...Eucharistically I was on my way to breakfast with Jared Anderson when he called. "A plane has been hijacked..." When he pulled into the parking lot, we both walked briskly into the restaurant and stood transfixed, with a dozen others, on the TV screen in the waiting area. We joined the collective shock and horror of the civilized world. Most of us will never forget September 11. The question for followers of Jesus is, "How will we remember?" "Eucharistic remembrance" is what theologians call the practice of recalling tragedy through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has several implications for the work of remembering well. Here are five: Eucharistic Remembrance means that in remembering tragedy we also remember that... 1. We have a suffering God The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a God who is distant from our pain. In the Old Testament, the psalmist declared that God is near the brokenhearted. In Jesus, we see that God became the brokenhearted. Jesus became a man, walked as we walk, suffered pain and rejection and loss. His cry on the cross is the cry of every human in pain: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Christ took on Himself the suffering of our world; He drank the cup to its bitter end. Why? Not so that we would not have to suffer, but so that our suffering now becomes a way of knowing Christ. He shared our suffering so that in our suffering we can know that God is with us. 2. We were enemies of God It is easy to forget that we belong in the company of sinners. We are not excluded from the rebel race that insisted on life apart from God. We treated God like our enemy. When...
A Response to Pastor Mark on God and Pacifism I cannot say all that I want to say in response to Pastor Mark Driscoll's piece, chiefly because I lack the time, the space, and the expertise to address it in the way it deserves. Nor do I want to start a war (literal or metaphorical) with the dear Christian brothers and sisters who think differently than I do about this complex issue. So, please: don't see this as me picking a fight. I can't possibly finish it if I did. This is me thinking out loud...giving my string of tweets a bit more nuance. When I think about the Driscoll's piece, I think these things: Asking if God is a Pacifist is the Wrong Question. We do not come to God because He lines up with our values or ideals. We see God in the face of Christ and ask what we now must do with this Jesus: follow Him or crucify Him. Pacifism is an ideal, a way of thinking about issues. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not deal in abstract categories. He is the tri-personal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pacifists follow an ideal and look for it in Jesus; Christians follow Jesus and discover a Way that is surprising, impossible, and compellingly beautiful. For all these reasons and more, it is more helpful to speak about what "Christian Non-Violence" is, rather than the "leading-the-witness" question Driscoll frames his piece with. The Book of Revelation Must Be Handled Carefully. The first thing my Fuller Seminary prof pointed out about Revelation is that it is not a book of prophecy. I know: this can sound like heresy to all the end-times folks, but Revelation says of itself that it is a work of...wait for it...revelation. It fits very well in the apocalyptic...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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