January 23 2024
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27). In his book, A Christianity Worth Believing, Doug Pagitt shakes up some established beliefs about the purpose of Jesus. He says,
“Jesus was sent to fulfill the promise of the Hebrew God of love by ending human hostility. It was not the anger of God that Jesus came to end, but the anger of people. This world God created is one of peace and harmony and integration. Through Jesus, all humanity is brought into that world. And that is the point of the resurrection... The power of God’s love for humanity proved stronger than our capacity to hate one another. Jesus’ death was about war, about violence, about destruction. But his resurrection was about peace, compassion, renewal. The resurrection is the full picture of God’s promise” (p. 194).
In his own way, Doug summarizes the theology of many respected theologians and Biblical scholars, yet for some reason the church continues to perpetuate an image of an angry, fire and brimstone, kind of God that wants nothing more than to spew divine wrath upon the world. It is time for the church to get serious about scripture and allow its transformative message to take hold.
Creator God, you love us and have gone out of your way to demonstrate the transformative power of this gift for all creation. With thankful hearts, we embrace this gift in hopes of continuing the demonstration you offered in Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge