Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What does the Crucifixion mean?

Richard's post a few days ago flagged up that there's been some slight seasonal uproar as the result of a broadcast (currently available in text form) that was about to be aired on Radio 4 by the dean of St Albans, Jeffrey John. I managed to catch the tail end of it when I got back from this evening's Eucharist. Unsurprisingly, the words were not heretical and not really THAT contraversial. They were radical as Jesus' Gospel is radical. The dean challenges our perceptions of God as an Angry figure,

the wrath of God is no more than a human projection, and that for God to be God, he can't be less merciful and loving than the best of human beings. As Julian wrote,
wrath and friendship are two contraries… For I saw that there is no manner of wrath in God, neither for short time nor for long;-for in sooth, if God be wroth for an instant, we should never have life nor place nor being.
I think the dean has said some very insightful things and referred to some interesting texts .

"On the cross God absorbs into himself our falleness and its consequences and offers us a new relationship. God shows he knows what it's like to be the loser; God hurts and weeps and bleeds and dies. It's a mystery we can hardly glimpse, let alone grasp; and if there is an answer to the problem of suffering, perhaps it's one for the heart, not the reason. Because the answer God's given is simply himself; to show that, so far from inflicting suffering as a punishment, he bears our griefs and shares our sorrow. From Good Friday on, God is no longer "God up there", inscrutably allotting rewards and retributions. On the Cross, even more than in the crib, he is Immanuel, God down here, God with us."

Go and have a look for yourself.

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