The Life and the Light
Two services in the next six days, combined with a quick jaunt to Saskatchewan to see family in between will likely mean a rather light week on this blog. I did, however, want to throw up a quote that I came across a while back that I’ve been thinking about as we head into the season of Lent.
This past Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday where the divinity of Jesus is revealed to a handful of frightened and bewildered disciples on the top of a mountain. During Lent and Holy Week we reflect upon the simultaneously horrific, beautiful, and unexpected manner in which this divinity is expressed.
For the first disciples as well as for us, this following Jesus is no straightforward business. He startles and frustrates us… like Peter, we want to protest—this is not how divinity behaves (Mark 8:31-33)! But for all of the difficulties that might come along with allowing Jesus to disorient and reorient us, we are yet drawn to him. We know that however awkwardly divine suffering and death fit into the stories we would tell, they are a part of God’s story, and that this story is, ultimately, a narrative of life and love.
This is from Alexander Schmemann’s For the Life of the World:
To be Christian, to believe in Christ, means and has always meant this: to know in a transrational and yet absolutely certain way called faith, that Christ is the Life of all life, that He is Life itself, therefore my life. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” All Christian doctrines—those of the incarnation, redemption, atonement—are explanations, consequences, but not the “cause” of that faith. Only when we believe in Christ do all these affirmations become “valid” and “consistent.” But faith itself is the acceptance not of this or that “proposition” about Christ, but of Christ Himself as the Life and the light of life….
In this sense Christian faith is radically different from “religious belief.” Its starting point is not “belief” but love.
Father Alexander Schmemann has probably discipled me more than I am aware through this book. Thanks for the reminder. (Have you read his Journals? His preoccupation with finding, seeing, and experiencing joy encouraged me greatly.)
I have not read the Journals. This is my first exposure to Schmemann, but it has certainly given me a taste for more. Thanks for the recommendation.
Just downloaded this book to my Kindle. Reading it will be my Lenten discipline this year. Thank you. God’s peace and strength to you in the coming six days.
Thank you, Chris.