Monday, March 30, 2015

Pursued (Monday of Holy Week 2015)

"What the priests and scribes didn't know---and we much too often forget---is that salvation doesn't come to the one doing the saving, not in the instant. Salvation comes after the one saving, indeed, the one with power to save, is spent, poured out, emptied."

I wrote that in the previous blog entry. I have said that my blog posts are my least edited writing. I pretty much type into Blogger, check for spelling and such (not carefully, which may be obvious), and click "publish." 

The above was convoluted enough to confuse a friend. She focused on the phrase "Salvation comes after the one saving" and asked if I meant salvation pursues the one who is saving. We talked about it and I clarified it was a sequence thing, not a pursuit thing, and on we went to talk about moths or something. 

But I've been thinking about being pursued by salvation all day. 

I rather like the image, in it's abstract way. 

There is the strain of thought in some theological circles that God is pursuing us, that God is not giving up on us and is seeking us out, no matter how "lost" (however we might mean that word) we might be.

I like that image and to anthropomorphize or at least characterize "salvation" as something that has independent agency to pursue us somehow hits a theologically geeky pleasure point in my brain. 

Salvation is one of those slippery concepts. It often refers to eternal destinations in popular discourse. I've not found that a sustaining belief. I also have pretty well given up on any form of substitutionary atonement, which will be preached all over the place this coming week. I always feel like talking about salvation leads to those two ideas. 

So in the context of this week, I'm thinking of Jesus as the embodiment of salvation, pursuing us but even more wanting to protect us from the powers of this world. He knows he's unpopular in Jerusalem, he knows he's going to meet with trouble, but for love of us, he cannot help but speak out against the kingdoms of this world and try to give a vision of the Reign of God that is already among us if we'll just turn around and take notice.

The cross is less about Jesus dying for our sins, then, and a whole lot about Jesus dying because we can't give up our power or our pursuit of power. We can't empty ourselves of the delusions of grandeur that we maintain about ourselves. Still Jesus wants us to catch that vision of love, compassion, self-sacrifice. He's willing to pursue us with this saving vision that he lets nothing get in his way, not even death.

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Recommended listening for tonight: 

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