Friday, June 22, 2007
W.W.J.D vs. M.T.P.F
Today is the day of the big party. We are having an ‘Asterix’ theme to it. The spit-braai will turn in the center of a horse shoe of tables where the folks of the Barbour clan will frolic!
Reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s early thoughts on Christology. These are lectures of his from the Berlin University. He was unable to finish them due to the war, but a helpful student was able to fill in the gaps. I think the fourth part is unavailable. Nevertheless, the thought that made me think this morning was this. The difference between the person of Jesus and the work of Jesus. Any theologians reading this article (unlikely) please excuse the poor extrapolations of Bonhoeffer’s thoughts by a small village pastor. Bonhoeffer suggests we cannot know the Christ from his works alone, we need to know the person of Christ. Christ must reveal himself (in person) to us through prayer before we will appreciate his works. The works of Christ remain ambiguous until we encounter the person of Christ. Martin Luther said that you cannot tell a good man by his works. “Everything depends on whether a person is good, if they are good, the work is good, even if does not seem to be… the work may seem good but it could be the work of the devil.” Luther was making sure that justification by faith alone was paramount and that no inference from a persons work and deeds is taken as the starting point. Some things may even seem evil, but coming from a good man (person of faith) it can still be God’s work. Another critical point Bonhoeffer makes and I think it is worth meditating on is this.. “ Jesus’ work leads to despair in me because I cannot imitate his pattern. But, if Jesus is the Christ, the Word of God, then I am not primarily called to emulate (copy) him, I am encountered in his work as one who could not possibly do this work myself.” How many sermons leave one feeling, “O boy, I will never match up to Christ!” Bonhoeffer is helping us appreciate that we never will. We are not expected to take his works as the starting point of our faith and build our lives copying that. We are called to seek the presence of the revelation of the person of Christ. The encounter of the divine person will shape our lives accordingly. Lets then think again how we do it. According to Bonhoeffer the W.W.J.D (What would Jesus do) may not be the best way to go about things, It should rather read M.T.P.F (Meet the person first.)Technorati Profile