Wednesday, August 11, 2010

an intimate and active reverence...

What is your view of Jesus?  The casual way in which many religious liberals profess an admiration for his teachings can often seem pretty thin and the reverence that many Christians profess seems to focus less on those teachings than on what Marcus Borg calls the "post Easter Jesus."  William Henry Furness strikes me as having it about right.  His "Mystery of the Gospel" continued...

"This would seem at first sight to be a very easy and small result. Is this all ? Simply to be impressed with the character of Christ ? Are we not already familiar with that? Is it not everywhere acknowledged and revered ? Does not the fact that He has been for ages literally deified, show what an exalted idea of Him is cherished ?

It would seem to be so. And yet the more we consider the matter, the more clearly will it be seen that the one thing which Christianity has to give us, the one thing which we most need, is an intimate and active reverence for Jesus Christ. How I wish it were in my power to do full justice to my thought! The one special thing, I say, which Christianity through all its instructions and institutions has to give us, and without which all else is of little avail, is an inspiring veneration for Jesus Christ. " The glory of this mystery is Christ in you."

The world goes to him for creeds, theologies, sacraments, ecclesiastical organizations, mysteries, arguments for another life, and I know not what. He was sent, men say, to bring them these. It was his express purpose. And what an imposing show, what a continual noise, musical and otherwise, is made with them! One would imagine the kingdom of Heaven was instantly to appear. But, although the movement is great, there is no progress. The world's welfare, instead of being helped, how painfully is it hindered by the very things which are advertised as the instruments of its salvation! Amidst the din of dogmatism and controversy respecting modes of worship and of thought, the sacred laws of personal duty, which Christ so explicitly enforced, are habitually violated or ignored; the eternal voice of God, speaking through the natural affections of the human heart, is drowned, and the grand and varied lessons of nature and providence, written out on earth and sky, and in the course of all human events, are hidden and superseded by the little structures of human forms and traditions ; and the great temple, not made with hands, all alive and flaming with the glory of God, is forsaken for the fabrics reared by art and man's device."


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