Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Cross-Shattered Christ: Shapter Six: "It is finished."

I have pondered this sixth chapter in Hauerwas' Cross-Shattered Christ for over a week now. All that Hauerwas says makes sense, albeit in an almost Zen-like way at times; that is, I find his reflections taking me to the edge of things so that sometimes I have more questions to explore. One of my questions comes from an awareness that our cross-shatted Christ's "It is finished" somehow sums up His Kingdom in victory; all is over, done, completed, brought to closure. And yet as Hauerwas reminds us, St. Paul in Colosians says that "in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflections for the sake of the body" (1.24-25). Here we infer that our hardshops and sufferings may be seen as extensions of Christ's crucifixion. At least that's the way Paul, as an apostle of Jesus, seems to understand his passion and suffering.

And this morning in The Daily Prayer of the Church I prayed this way:

O Lord God, whose blessed Son bore our sins in his own body on the tree: Give us, we pray such true repentence and amendment of life, that we may never crucify him afresh, and put him in an open shame, by conscious and willful sin; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

In this prayer we--and I, in particular--ask God to shape our lives--and my life, in particular--so that we--and I, in particular--may "never crucify [Jesus] afresh," a reference to Hebrews 6.6.

Yes, it is finished; and yes, our Lord continues to be cross-shattered as He lives among us and in us as His Body, the Church, both as we suffer and as we sin. I'm not able to keep all those "yeses" quite together, but it seems to me that each is as important as the other

  • that I trust Christ, the Author and Finisher of my faith and life
  • that I honor and share the suffering of the Christ when I somehow suffer for His sake,
  • and that I realize that I too recreate the need for and reality of Good Friday when I engage in flagrant and open sin.

As to the later shameful possibility, I'm relieved to hear once again this week, this day, at the end of the day, and tomorrow on Good Friday that "It is finished," that I am completed in Christ. And Christ is completed in me.


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