“There is membership not in what is owed to ourselves, but in what is owed to Christ because we are now in him.”
And in our gospel passage, Mary of course – like all of us on this side of death – is not yet fully awake. She makes first contact with the resurrected Jesus, and it’s about as awkward as Peter embarrassing himself by trying to pitch a tent on Mount Tabor. Mary’s problem is that she thinks Jesus is dead, and when she sees that he’s gone, she consoles herself by saying, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
A wise art teacher used to say, “Make art that won’t be burnt up.” He meant, make art that will outlast the last judgment. Make art that will count as one of the “glories of the nations” brought into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:26). Beauty attracts us, even when our reasons are unconvinced.
There is a moment you stand on the brink, or the brink stands on you. The inexorable draw pulls you in, like gravity, like…
Today's post is written alongside others delving into the moral, ethical, and biblical ramifications of the current practice in the United States of separating…
But such things apply to Joy, if at all, in a far diminished way. I sing the Lord’s Prayer to her, but she’ll never learn to pray. We’ll bring her to church, but she’ll never learn the basics of the faith. We’ll take care of her physically, but to what extent can we really meet her spiritual needs?
Christian worship, whether expressed in the sacrament of Holy Communion, or in classic hymnody, is premised on gratitude for an act of sacrificial love that Muslims reject by virtue of denying not only the incarnation, but even that Jesus died on the cross. These distinctively Christian beliefs not only inspire Christian worship and devotion, but also define its content.
I think the deepest appeal of Wesleyan theology is that is heartily affirms a God who is truly good and sincerely loves all persons. God does not determine, God empowers, enables, encourages. And the message that God loves us and wants to empower us to love him back, as well as each other is a message of great hope. No one has been “passed over” or determined by God for eternal misery and damnation. To the contrary, there is hope for everyone, and the resources of grace are available to transform even those persons who may seem most hopeless in our eyes.
According to Scripture, then, the post-deluge world is like Eden, but diminished; in contrast, the new heavens and new earth will be like Eden, but elevated.
John of Damascus grounds the making of image in the incarnation (the “taking on flesh”) of Jesus Christ, who “married” heaven and earth through the union of God and man. If the God-Man Jesus is the “express image” of God, as Hebrews 1:3 says, then the artist is free to express himself creatively, using the material of the world to faithfully image God in Christ.