In an interview with the Mars Hill Audio Journal, the Canadian theologian Hans Boersma spoke about the ease with which Christians talk about Jesus as the Saviour, as if he was the great fixer that came to extrinsically fix the cosmos that was previously alright on its own, but now needed fixing due to the stain of sin. To Boersma, this conception of Christ as the repairman to what was a perfectly well functioning clock, has borne many philosophical, social and indeed political fruits, all of which fall under the cultural malady that we call post/modernity.
Boersma suggests that a proper Christian response would require a richer conception of who Jesus is. To this he suggests a return to the ancient Church Fathers, who regarded Jesus as more than just the Son of God, a God who became a man to walk on this earth. To them, Jesus was the Logos or reasoning for everything that was ever created. He was the underlying logic to everything that has existed and ever will exist and it is for this reason that Scripture says that it is in Jesus that "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). In particular, the crucified Christ for the Fathers was not an aberration to Jesus' life, but its very fulfilment, since by being nailed to the cross he revealed the reasoning of the entire universe, and revealed "all things hidden since the foundation of the world" (Matt 13:35)
And "all things" would include many of the things that we regard as alien to the order of life on earth, including pain and suffering. Indeed, Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement, had this to say about pain in her book The Cry of Jesus Crucified and Forsaken:
had it not been for this cross, all...the pain of all humanity, would not have been given a name
It is only in the light of the Crucified is pain seen not as the disruption of the order of the universe, but the privilege standpoint from which to understand that order. Our ability to identify pain as such would not be possible without the pain of the Logos on the cross.
Labels: bible, Church and Culture, resources