Thursday, January 3, 2013

What then Should We Do? Answering a Question with a Question.

What then should we do? Answering a question with a question.


In a previous blog, I laid my Christian belief over top of the emotions which are a normal and faithful reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Then, I spoke of my Christian belief as a radical (in the sense of getting at the root of the issue) approach to thinking about the shooting.


By laying my belief in God over my emotions and starting my thinking from my faith, I have a truth/authority/axiom that has the capacity to restore wholeness to human life. This truth re-integrates humanity and restores humans to their fullest capacity for good. This truth re-integrates humanity and restores humans through a promise of a time when all is set right. Until that time, while we wait, we believe.


Do you believe? In the story of the death of Lazarus in the Gospel of John, we read that Lazarus has died and has been buried for 4 days when Jesus arrives in Bethany. Immediately, Jesus is confronted by Martha, the sister of Lazarus. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!" Jesus does not answer her accusation by explaining why Lazarus had to die. Instead, he asks a question, "Do you believe?"


As we confront the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, Do you believe that Christ was born for this?


As we find the shock, and fear, and horror well up within us, Do you believe that the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Jesus Christ?


In the face of death, when parents should not have to see their own children die, Do you believe that "nails and spears shall pierce Jesus through, the cross that is borne for me and you.?"


In this Advent and Christmastide, commonly we hear sections of Handel's Messiah. Indeed, it is the more popular of large works for Christmas. But, J. S. Bach was a better theologian. Listen to closing text of his Christmas Oratorio, sung to the musical theme that is used for the Lenten\Good Friday hymn, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded."



9. (62.) Aria T

 Now, you arrogant enemies, you may tremble;

 what kind of fear can you arouse in me?

 My treasure, my sanctuary is here with me.

   You may seem still so horrible,

   threatening to defeat me once and for all,

   yet see! My Savior lives here.



11. (64.) Chorale

 Now you are well avenged

 upon the horde of your enemies,

 since Christ has pulverized

 what was contrary to you.

 Death, devil, sin and hell

 are weakened once and for all;

 the place of the human race

 is next to God.



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