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 A Word from the pastor

  

 

"The Theology of the Cross as a Bases for Mission"

 

Our American heritage was born out of our founding fathers (Franklin, Jefferson, etc.) whose beliefs, reflected in the Declaration of Independence, were shaped by what is called Deism (God is remote from the world) and the Enlightenment Age (man is the center of existence). This helped to shape our religious experience in our culture which gives emphasis to the spirit born within us. It is highly individualistic which has laid the groundwork for modern day spirituality. Just check out the plethora of such books in libraries and book stores. It implies getting in touch with my "inner self" or my inner being. It is the quest for what makes "me" feel good. It is the "feeling" of being at one with God because I am at one with myself.

 

Spirituality and the Theology of the Cross: Douglas John Hall (a Canadian Reformed Theologian) has written a trilogy in which he has made the claim that the Christian Church needs to rethink its theology in the context of what is happening within the whole North American Continent. The model he chose to use is Luther's "Theology of the Cross": "the Theology of the Cross, at base, is about God's abiding commitment to the world" says Hall. God breaks into the world and meets us where we are and causes us to change. God comes from outside ourselves causing us to look up rather than "within" ourselves.

 

Luther coined the phrase "Theology of the Cross" from the Apostle Paul "When I came to you brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but in the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

 

Theology of Glory and Theology of the Cross: The theology of glory seeks to know God directly in his obvious divine power, wisdom and glory: whereas the theology of the cross paradoxically recognizes him precisely where he has hidden himself, in his suffering and in all that which the theology of glory considers to be weakness and foolish. Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther

 

"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise: God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong: God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that...the one who boasts, boasts in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

 

Theology of the Cross in relation to the Theology of Place - worship space (Word and Sacrament): Throughout both testaments, various spaces serve specific functions in the economy of God. That which is called "the mountain" or "the mountain of God", even "the holy mountain" is the space which marks the presence of God in visible ways. It is to the mountain that God invites certain persons and groups and reveals the divine identity and that of Christ (transfiguration); provides for eating and drinking together in the divine presence; issues the law and commissions certain people to be agents of the divine will and the apostles of the kingdom. (Exodus 3:1-15, 24:9-11; Luke 6:12-15; Mark 9:2-9)

And worship place (Word and Service): In contrast to the mountain to which special persons are invited, the place is that space where Jesus seeks solitude but is sought out by others and disturbed. These disturbances are always welcomed by Jesus as providing opportunities to teach (Luke 4:42, 6:17, 11:1); to feed the multitudes (Luke 9:12-17); and to heal those who had not been cured (Luke 6:18, 9:11). That the place is the space where public ministry occurs, serves to focus on the designation in all four Gospels of the site of the crucifixion; the place is called Golgotha. The greatest act of public ministry occurred there - Christ died for the sins of humanity.

 

"The place is, in other words, the space in which the theology of the cross comes to clear expression: where weakness, doubt, contradiction, limitation, sacrifice, and serve all occur as the means by which God reaches the world" (Foster McCurley "A Vision for Mission")

"For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:28)

 

Foster McCurley, my Old Testament professor and teacher of "Word and Witness" gives an important and interesting perception between two inter-relating facets of ministry. We are both a worshiping community who are invited to the "holy mountain" to feast on the word and sacrament, as well as, serving community in the places (word and service) where the world and humanity intersect with ours. Both areas are centered around the crucified Christ who calls us (baptism) to take up our cross and follow him.

 

A Mission Team is to be organized consisting of three persons and the pastor for the purpose of continuously evaluating areas of ministry (seven faith practices), make recommendations of type of ministries, work with council and encourage participation as part of our sacred calling to be partners in mission for the sake of the Gospel.

 

The Heart of this Mission and Life Together is Living in the spirit of Christ.

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things to words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual."

(1 Corinthians 1:12-12; see John 1:14)

 

The Spirit of Christ is the incarnate (in the flesh) Word of God who comes to us from outside ourselves and places within us a new agenda. It is an agenda that puts our faith active in love for only God can save us from ourselves (sinful - turned inwardly.)

We worship and serve the crucified Lord.

 

Pastor Tim

 

  

  

 



 

 

 

 

 

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