10 January 2010

Sunday Quote 11010

N.T. Wright is one of my favorite writers.  Here's a short sampling as to why:
"Christian spirituality normally involves a measure of suffering.  One of the times when Jesus is recorded as having used the Abba-prayer was when, in Gethsemane, he asked his Father if there was another way, if he really had to go through the horrible fate that lay in store for him.  The answer was yes, he did.  But if Jesus prayed like that, we can be sure that we will often have to as well.  Both Paul and John lay great stress on this.  Those who follow Jesus are called to live by the rules of the new world rather than the old one, and the old one won't like it.  Although the life of heaven is designed to bring healing to the life of earth, the powers that presently run this earth have carved it up to their own advantage, and they resent any suggestion of a different way.

Suffering may, then, take the form of actual persecution....But suffering comes in many other forms, too: illness, depression, bereavement, moral dilemmas, poverty, tragedy, accidents, and death.  Nobody reading the New Testament or any of the other Christian literature from the first two or three centuries could have accused the early Christians of painting too rosy a picture of what life would be like for those who follow Jesus.  But the point is this: it is precisely when we are suffering that we can most confidently expect the Spirit to be with us.  We don't seek, or court, suffering or martyrdom.  But if and when it comes, in whatever guise, we know that, as Paul says toward the end of his great Spirit-chapter, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37)"

N.T. Wright, Simply Christian pp137, 138


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