Monday, July 11, 2011

The loved are free to love

There's nothing macho about Christianity. Our Head (Christ) was the humble king who gave himself up to death for us. Nothing strong about that. Nothing self-loving and self-protecting and self-advancing about that. Christianity is for losers. It's good news for losers.

When we speak of Christ as Head over all we surely exalt his love and humility rather than his brute force power and dominating sovereignty. Anyone can follow one who  wields power - and look good for doing so - but it takes a different Spirit to follow one who is all love, who lays himself down, whose strengths is manifest in weakness. One who does not seize greatness but receives it as his Father raises him up above all else.

Hosea 1:11 sums up the gospel as concerning the appointment of Christ as Head, as the true husband who gives himself for a desperately unfaithful whore of a wife. The image isn't flattering - we're the whore. But the image is beautiful - in the place of abuse by others and self-inflicted abuse, she is now the subject of his great love. At cost and humiliation to himself he take her to be his own, to have and to hold, to give himself to. What is this Head like? Burroughs reflects:
"They shall 'appoint themselves one Head' not force Christ upon others by fire and sword. Heretics are to be burnt with fire, says Luther; but with what fire? the fire of charity (love)."
Nothing forceful, nothing cold and nothing abusive here. Where Christ is Head, the body loves because it is so astonishingly loved. There ought to be none as loving as one loved by Christ, for there is none so loved as one loved by Christ. Dev writes On freedom and slavery in Galatians
"The true son rests solely in the love of God shown in the cross of Christ – He needs no other affirmation, encouragement or reassurance. The Spirit of God is the one that constantly pours that love fresh into our hearts. If we are true sons, like Paul, we can become true fathers to others – to beget others through the same Spirit and not through the flesh. If we are insecure, then all our disciple-making will only bind others to ourselves, to boost out own standing with men and God – while actually making others slaves to the same insecurity. We will insist on certain practices and systems that we have invented for others to follow in as well. Once the Son sets us free, we are free indeed – people are allowed to express the one faith differently, in a way that harmonizes together – that the world may know we are a liberated people – for the flesh has no hold on how we view one another. We are a crucified people, through the cross of Christ. "
The loved are free, sons who can become fathers. Life givers to others, not manipulator and but liberators. A peculiar people, who follow Christ their Head and so learn to love like he loved and loves.
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD." (Song 8:6)