RCPC Greatest Hit from Flora McInnis Hobson in 1985
"What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Luke 19:38
There have been many times when I have reflected on this passage and found hope in Paul’s words to the Romans This has been one of my favorite ‘perspective-keepers.’ In moments when I have found myself torn between integrity to my faith and the opinions of others this has been a calming reassurance. The danger, of course, is arrogance.
Arrogance occurs when we are so sure that our way is God’s way that we stop listening to others. We stop being open to hearing God in the alternatives. It strikes me that this is exactly what happened on Good Friday. The Pharisees were quite sure that God had no part in this Jesus of Nazareth.
This seems the ultimate ‘Catch 22.’ We are called to be true to our faith and flawless in our integrity as Christ’s people. Yet how, in 1985 with Orwell’s 1984 still haunting us, do we discern the truth for which we stand? Dr. Elizabeth Achtemeier from Union Seminary helped me in this struggle. She reminded me that we are living in the “in between times.” God’s will for humankind has been perfectly revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” Yet we know all too well that God’s Kingdom is not fully realized in the world in which we live. However, we can and must know that God is working toward the fulfillment of His Kingdom.
As Christians we can work with God toward bringing about God’s plan, or we can work against it, or we can just stand still and get in the way. Our call is to work with God; to grasp the vision of life in God’s Kingdom and work to bring that to reality.
How do we avoid arrogance? By remembering that, at best our vision is seen “in a mirror dimly.” Therefore, all is still imperfect - every church, institution, and government - none is yet what God would have it be. We must commit ourselves to listen and look with prayerful discernment at the choices and opportunities before us, else we crucify the very God we seek to serve. This is the tragic irony of Good Friday.
Lord God, we cannot focus on Good Friday except through the memory of Easter. We thank you for this. Help us to become wise in our discernment, forever committed to seek to more fully and understand your will for our lives. And when we fail, help us to realize the fullness of your grace and to be able to accept the gift of Easter. Amen.