Easter: With head and heart…

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Here are some Easter musings from my book Could this be God? Bumping into God in the Everyday. This entry is called Easter: With head and heart

I was a guest preacher last night (well, no longer last night by the time you read this), and had been asked to speak on what Jesus accomplished at the Cross. So how do you fit that into 20 minutes? I went a pretty traditional route, unpacked the reason for our creation (relationship with God), followed it up with the problem of our alienation from God and then explored how and why the Cross overcomes the barriers our rebellion against God has built. Even if I say it myself, it was solid stuff—albeit the 23 minute version.

And yet as I drove away I felt that I had said so much less than I wanted to. No, heresy hunters would not have had a field day. True, there is only so much you can say in 23 minutes (OK, 25 if you throw in the prayer at the end!), but the big blocks were all there, even if capable of further expansion. So why the niggling unease?

Hard to articulate, but it’s the sense that no matter what you say about the Cross, it’s incomplete. Yet, at another level, it’s the fear that you’ll explain things so clearly that people will say, ‘Thanks, I’ve got it.’ As if we can ever really understand the Cross. God forbid that we should reduce the mystery of the Cross to a set of propositions that people sign up to—a kind of tick the box if you agree.

How do you explain that the Creator of the Universe loves his wayward rebellious creation to such an extent that he came to this planet to live amongst us and ultimately die for us? And that the death he died was not an ordinary clutch at the chest and die of heart failure five minutes later death, but a death of unimaginable cruelty. Why would God put up with such indignity?

The quick answer rolls off the lips. ‘It’s because he loves us.’

‘And why does he love us?’

‘Well it is because God is love—love is what he instinctively does. It’s God’s speciality.’

As if that’s an explanation of this stubbornly persistent love, a love that transcends one rejection after another.

Ah, Easter. Each time it comes around it’s a scratch the head and stand in silent awe season. This is logic from a dimension other than our own. It’s the logic of love demonstrated in sacrifice. We hear the 1 John 3:16 insight, ‘We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us.’ Paul pushes it a little further in Romans 5:8, ‘God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.’ While we were still sinners…

Perhaps a beginning response can be that of Isaac Watts, ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’ But that’s only a start…

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