The Showdown of Easter
Imprisoned, the apostle Paul penned a remarkable and so surprising letter of joy - Philippians. One verse stand outs however as soul-tearing, the apostle bared his heart as an ally of Easter:
All I want is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and to share His suffering by reproducing the pattern of His death. (Philippians 3:10)
Four decades ago Brennan Manning wrote:
The redemptive value of Jesus' suffering lay not in the suffering itself... but in the love that inspired it. On the cross Christ reveals that suffering is a consequence of sin. That does not mean that when I suffer I am necessarily being punished for my sins. Christ was not punished for His... When the shadow of His cross darkens our space and our secure, well-regulated lives are blown apart, when disaster makes its unwelcome appearance in our lives and we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own misery, when courage flies out the window and the world suddenly seems hostile and menacing, it is the showdown...#
When the showdown of suffering awakens the soul, crushes the spirit or loss burns our future we decide, are we still an ally of Easter? Did Golgotha really nail my God? Or, was Calvary a generous care of Heaven to be fled in hard times and ignored in soft times?
Easter seeks allies, it demands no more than it gave. The bleeding Jesus of Gethsemane became the tortured Jesus of Golgotha. He died with the devotion that the apostle Paul would too copy and give.
Brennan Manning concluded:
In the (naive) words of the apostle Thomas - 'let us go to Jerusalem and die with Him.' (John 11:16)
There is the same God for the dark journey as the light one. He is either ignored or adored.
Today's Soul Snippet:
'Fruit is the evidence of the root.' ~ anon
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# Brennan Manning, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Revell, 2009) 89