Jesus my redeemer

23 Apr

As I went through the day and thinking of the walk to Calvary and the crucifixion, I noticed something. I noticed that growing up evangelical, so much of my faith as about Good Friday. All the numerous number of worship songs about Jesus and the cross or his blood swam in my head.  It’s so much about how God redeemed us terrible people by Jesus dying on the cross.

And I can already hear my good ol’ not-so-evangelical seminary friends chiming in here saying how that theology is “inadequate” and even “wrong”.  That it leads to this naval-gazing type of Christianity where it’s all about ME and MY sins and how God is freeing ME, redeeming ME and so individualized etc etc.

Hold your horses everyone, I’m not here to fuel the war between liberals and conservatives even more- I think politicians and Christian leaders do a good job of that already. 🙂

The reason why I bring this up can be summed up by a recent This American Life story I heard on NPR.

There was this man who grew up in a small town in Tennessee in a Baptist church. Well, he grew up, went to college and discovered that the world was very big and that there are many view on God and the one he grew up with in his Baptist church was too simplistic. He then went on to study theology at a theological institution that remained unnamed and was looking for the opportunity to return to his small town in Tennessee and prove his family wrong about their views on God and Christianity.

So a few years fly by- and he finds himself in his small town talking to his father. He’s just waiting for dad t say that one thing that will open up an opportunity for him to jump in and prove to his dad why his dad’s theology is wrong.  And he got his chance- he jumped on it and ranted about it for half hour and his dad didn’t even interrupt him. At the end his dad said, “son, I am so proud of you. You are very intelligent and I’m sure you make a great scholar. But when I met Jesus, I was on the verge of a divorce with your mother and contemplating suicide.  And look at where I am today. Son, I admire you for your intellectual ways to explain God, but that does not mean the God I experience isn’t real”

And that was the end of the conversation.

I think that we liberals and we evangelicals (yes, I’m bi-whatever the word is!) have to understand the Jesus’ death on the cross plays a role beyond what we’ve decided our theology tells us it is.

The death of our Lord Jesus Christ is a mysterious as it is real.  The role it plays for me in my life is complex but this I know for sure.  That I do believe that I am redeemed by his sacrifice and with that sacrifice that I accept, I am no longer my own. I live to exemplify his life, which was a life of service for the poor and seeking justice for those in bondage.

That is what I meditated on today as I remembered my redeemer being nailed to the cross.

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