Holy Tuesday

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From Douglas John Hall’s Cross in Our Context: “The essence of God… is for Luther God’s ‘with-suffering’ [compassion] – which is of course why he could speak of God (not only of the Christ, but of God) in what…was a scandalous way: the crucified God…This is a scandalous designation, however, not only because it defies longstanding doctrine concerning the divine ‘impassibility’ but because it defies the strange but perennial human reluctance to have God too deeply implicated in the pain of created life. It is an astonishing thing when God’s willing solidarity with suffering creation is experienced by human beings. It is entirely surprising, unanticipated, unpredictable, for it is not at all what either religion or reason could or should or does expect. The ‘gracious God’ whom Luther finally found (and kept losing and kept finding again) is a complete reversal of the omnipotent one to whom inductive reason and religious authority testify, and before whom the human spirit, guilty, cowers…The divine compassion is a continuous, utterly gracious movement of the Holy Spirit toward the human, and partly for that reason the human never truly believes and appropriates this compassion but remains an unconverted doubter finding it impossible above all to believe in the possibility of forgiveness and a new beginning.”

Roger

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