Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ridiculous Faith

Originally uploaded by mincaye.

This Easter, one word kept suggesting itself to me over and over again: ridiculous.

Many have written that the Christian faith defies logic, but I am inclined to agree with Dallas Willard that this faith is perfectly logical. After all, why should anything be beyond the Creator of logic?

But for all its logic, faith still seems to me a rather ridiculous thing, not because it doesn't make sense, but because it seems too good to be true.

This morning at church, a story was told of a minister who raised fourteen people from the dead, at least one of which was repeatedly thrown onto a wall until he came back to life. When I hear stories like these, I really don't know what to think.

Yet I must check myself before simply scoffing at it, for in the same manner was the resurrection of Jesus discredited and disbelieved.

When we think about it, everything about the death and resurrection of Christ was 'wrong.' Creation cannot kill its creator; angels are not silent when the Lord-of-the-Angel-Armies (Eugene Peterson's version of God Almighty) is being flogged; death does not work backwards; and so much more.

But as John Irving observed in his book, A Prayer for Owen Meany;

"Anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don't believe in the resurrection, you're not a believer."

The cross is indeed, in Max Lucado's words, the hinge of history. One cannot be indifferent about it. Probably the question isn't so much about whether or not it happened, but why it happened the way it did. Hence, being logical doesn't remove the silly side of it.

To me, Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:55 echo the celebration on that first Easter morning, sending a mocking taunt reverberating through the depths of the abyss:

"O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?"

And this is the hope of Easter, as expressed in Romans 6:6,8;

"...our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin... Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."

It is the difference he makes. And this, to me, is the most ridiculous part of God's redemption plan: the fact that he still puts up with scum like me.

No human, noble as he may be, could possible endure humanity, especially people as incorrigible as yours truly. Indeed, only a god could: and not just any god, but a God who would defy human expectation and pigeon-holing.

A God who, in the sum of all things, brings us to the state where we are resigned to his will; till our words are those of Michael Card's:

When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong
And so we follow God's own fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well

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