The time has come for God and Politics to have its annual Easter break. Things will be quiet here for a couple of weeks allowing for a guest post that’s on its way. Thank you again for taking the time to stop by and spend a short while here, Many thanks especially if you have left comments – I really wish I was able to respond to more of them than I do. God is continuing to use this blog to do some amazing things and for that I can’t thank Him enough. I’ll sign off with this brief thought for Good Friday/Easter:
I was reading an article recently in the London Evening Standard by a Muslim Imam that was lamenting the apparent demise of the Christian faith in our country. As he went along, he also touched on the differences between Islam and Christianity, making this comment:
‘Islam is a vibrant and dynamic religion, dealing with every aspect of life. It provides people with one direct relationship with God and makes it clear that you don’t need some else to die for your sins.’
As I read it I was deeply offended by those last few words. Believing that Jesus died for my sins goes right to the core of who I am. To effectively say that Jesus’ death was pointless is to contest and belittle everything that the Bible tells us about Jesus’ life. What it comes down to is whether we believe Jesus was the Son of God. If you are of the opinion that the historical Jesus was just a man as Muslims do then his death was little more than an unfortunate incident in a moment of time, but if you are willing to accept that Jesus was God incarnate, then his death takes on a whole new dimension. It becomes an incredible and profound sacrifice full of love and grace that forever changes the relationship between mankind and God.
I doubt that I am alone in having trouble getting my head around how and why God should choose to allow His son to die for the forgiveness of every wrong thing each one of us has ever done. It is a profound mystery, yet I would rather believe in a God who cares enough about humanity that he makes Himself known, seeking relationship with us at His expense, rather than staying aloof and expecting us to strive endlessly to earn His favour. And I would certainly take this over believing that there is no God at all.
This is how I make sense of it:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
I’ve read and heard many arguments against the existence of God and why this story of Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is just nonsense. At a purely rational level when you take any dimension of the spiritual out of the equation, this might be so, but none of them offer the hope and purpose that I long for in life. Easter and the period leading up to it is a challenge to all of us to risk seeing life beyond the relentless everyday drudgery and accept that there is a whole lot more that is waiting to be experienced. It is a brave step to embrace the message of overwhelming love and redemption that is found in the cross, but few who take it ever look back.
Please take a few moments to watch this beautiful video by the artist Charlie Mackesy reflecting on Good Friday. It will be five and a half minutes well spent.