Archive for March, 2020

Seeking Joy

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Hebrews 12:2 states plainly the reason Jesus went to the cross: joy. He didn’t sacrifice His own happiness for the sake of some larger goal. Rather, looking through the darkness to the light beyond, He was animated by the prize of joy, knowing that pursuing this would release joy to others.

An unhappy person cannot make anyone else happy. The only way to bless others is to be joyful oneself. Seekers of joy need have no worries about becoming narrow-minded; rest assured that life’s roughness and pain will seek you out, whether you’re open to it or not. As for joy, however, if you don’t search for it with all your heart, and commit yourself to doing whatever’s necessary to attain it, you’ll miss out. No one escapes suffering, but many lives are devoid of joy.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 157-158

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 4, 2015

Astonish the World

Friday, March 6th, 2020

Now, we can be astonished at the authority of Jesus, who calls us to love our enemies. Or we can just love our enemies and so astonish the world as to jostle it from its regular course.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 194

Hope Amid the Horror

Friday, March 6th, 2020

More than five hundred years before Jesus’ death on the cross, Second Isaiah proclaimed that the God who created heaven and earth was redeeming and saving Israel and forgiving their sin out of the infinite depths of divine compassion. This God is forever faithful and does not need anyone to die in order to be merciful. It is strange to contemplate how Christian preaching in the tradition of the satisfaction theory seems to assume that some seismic shift suddenly changed the divine character, so that Jesus’ death was necessary to win favor for sinners. One hears that he came to die, and without the cross we would not be saved, as if at some point the flow of divine mercy were shut down, needing Jesus’ death to start it up again. As we will discover, however, rather than making a necessary gift to placate divine honor, Jesus’ brutal death enacts the solidarity of the gracious and merciful God with all who die and especially with victims of injustice, opening hope for resurrection amid the horror.

— Elizabeth A. Johnson, Creation and the Cross, p. 50

Photo: March 6, 2015, South Riding, Virginia