March 26, 2009

Jesus' Mission

I am thankful for my good freind, Bill, this morning, and his comment on my earlier post Dear John.  I am glad that his new status as parent, will not keep him from being my personal Johanine Scholar, and even more thankful for his pointing out the counterintuitive idea that the Cross is Jesus' "glory and triumph."

This is hard for "Mission Accomplished" oriented, high-speed internet, Americans to grasp.  We want things done, we want them done now, and we want them done is neatly and tidily as possible.  The Iraq war was no more finished when Presdient Bush stood on that aircraft carrier as Jesus' mission was done when he said, "now is the judgment of this world, now the ruler of this world will be driven out."  No, not yet.  More bloodshed had to happen.  More human rights abuses.  More lives had to be lost.  It makes us angry and uncomfortable.

But, it is in the messiness and ugliness of the Cross that Christ is glorified.  He his raised, quite literally, on a cross, and exaulted, quite really, by all of heaven.  In so doing, he brings all people to himself.

Or as one of our Collects for Mission says it, "Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross so that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace..."

That is Jesus' mission.  To be killed in order to be exaulted.  To be nailed to a cross so that his arms might be opened to receive everyone.  As the Collect goes on to say, that mission, is now shared with us, His body in the meantime.  "So clothe us with your Spirit, that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you, for the honor of your name."

That alone is the mission of Christ.  How it is manifest post-crucifixion is myriad; from social justice ministries to apologetic biblical interpretation and everywhere in between.  All pointing back to that wonderfully horrible Friday when Jesus' mission was, indeed, accomplished.

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