what it means to be a christian 2

A little more from the first sermon’s first section in Benedict XVI’s What It Means to Be a Christian, titled “Christianity as Advent.” I’ll have to share a fairly extensive quote here. The pope will continue this theme throughout the sermon, but he mentions here something profound and quite good, I think. Regarding our hesitance to bring before God our struggles as radically and authentically as we experience them, he says about the Christian life…

[I]t is precisely to him that we can and we must bring, in complete honesty, the whole burden of our life. We are rather too inclined to forget that in the Book of Job, handed down to us in Holy Scripture, at the end of the drama God declares Job to be righteous–Job, who has hurled the most outrageous accusations at God–while he rejects Job’s friends as speakers of falsehood, those friends who had defended God and had found some kind of good sense and answer for everything.

Observing Advent simply means talking with God the way Job did. It means just seeing the whole reality and burden of our Christian life without fear and bringing it before the face of God, as judge and savior, even if, like Job, we have no answer to give about it all, and the only thing left is to leave it to God himself to answer and to tell him how we are standing here in our darkness with no answers. (p. 20)

That second paragraph (the last in this section of the sermon) is working me over. There is something profoundly attractive about this sort of self-abandonment before God that sounds an awful lot like authentic faith. When there are answers to everything, there is less need for faith in the person of God–we are leaning not on the “everlasting arms” (to quote the hymn), but on the explanations we’ve worked up. This suggests that our theology must remain aware that we are in need of a theology that assumes radical faith in God and believes that though God has revealed his person to us in Jesus, he is still not fully explainable by us and never will be.

Thoughts?

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