Friday, July 02, 2010

Another world is possible..........but how?

Yesterday I read a passage in Miroslav Volf's book "Exclusion & Embrace," that gave me a lot of hope and encouragement. In the light of my time at the US Social Forum last week, and the struggle to envision and believe that "another world is possible," Volf's eloquent thoughts are a critical reminder to me of both the steep cost and the incomparable joy of being with Christ in this struggle. I've included a photo I took several years ago outside a little mud-hut church in a village in Uganda.

"The ultimate scandal of the cross is the all too frequent failure of self-donation to bear positive fruit: you give yourself for the other-and violence does not stop but destroys you; you sacrifice your life-and stabilize the power of the perpetrator. Though self-donation often issues in the joy of reciprocity, it must reckon with the pain of failure and violence. When violence strikes, the very act of self-donation becomes a cry before the dark face of God. This dark face confronting the act of self-donation is a scandal.

Is the scandal of the cross good enough reason to give up on it? Let me respond by noting that there is no genuinely Christian way around the scandal. In the final analysis, the only available options are either to reject the cross and with it the core of the Christian faith or take up one's cross, follow the crucified-and be scandalized anew by the challenge. As the Gospel of Mark reports, the first disciples followed and were scandalized (14:26). Yet they continued to tell the story of the cross, including the account of how they abandoned the Crucified. Why? Because precisely in the scandal, they have discovered a promise. In serving and giving themselves for others (Mark 10:45), in lamenting and protesting before the dark face of God (15:34), they found themselves in the company of the Crucified. In his empty tomb they saw the proof that the cry of desperation will turn into a song of joy and that the face of God will eventually "shine" upon a redeemed world (Volf, 26.)"

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