Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grace applies to blog writing too so this one is post-sermon. This way I get to reflect on how the message was received. I preached on John 12:20-33 and used Gail O'Day's work in New Interpreter's Bible and some things from Feasting on the Word which referenced Walter Wink's work on non-violent atonement. Four theologies of atonement and I still finished by 12 noon! I even impressed me.

It was interesting to hear someone say they didn't realize there was more than one way to view the cross/atonement. I too felt the same way, freed in many ways, when I first learned it. I have not yet spoken to other theologians in the congregation so we shall see what they thought. But its hard to argue that John's gospel does not include ransom or substitution as a theology of Jesus 'work'. It is all about reconciling God's people to God through Jesus' exaltation which happens in his death and resurrection. Not that John is all that easy to understand.

It is good to question and challenge and think about what we believe, especially what we believe about the cross. It's sad to let our hymns dictate what we believe because most hymn theology is awful. And I love challenging the theories of atonement that require violence to appease a blood-thirsty God. Denny Weaver does a great job of looking at the cross differently (Anabaptist-style) in Non-Violent Atonement. I think I need to read it again. It will be good to see if others mention the sermon as I see them this week.

Ah well, another Sunday and another blessing received because anytime God's people gather for worship it is a blessing. amen


Chris said...

I appreciate that cryptic comment Jesus makes elsewhere, about giving his life as a 'ransom for many.' I like that he doesn't explain what that means. Maybe it's the urge to explain that creates problems.

Peace to you.

Rev Nancy Fitz said...

Thanks for stopping by Chris. Yes, I'm always challenged by the definitions we've put on translations in the last few hundred years. Ransom is a tough word but you are right, Jesus doesn't explain it! Like so much of the wonderful mystery.