As a church family, we continue to press forward to accomplish our purpose, to connect people to Jesus and to each other; and to do so by fulfilling our mission to passionately demonstrate the love of Jesus. How do we best passionately demonstrate the Lord’s love? By pursuing truth, choosing sacrifice, serving all people, and making disciples.
Last weekend we enjoyed our communal life together with our “Better Than Any Movie” weekend. Special thanks to all who volunteered and participated. For those of you who may have missed it, the audio recordings are now online on the Crosswalk Website. They are all good, but I especially recommend the Saturday session.
At the White House Easter prayer breakfast, Vice President Joe Biden reflected on the untimely death of his son, and acknowledged that only his faith in the Lord enabled him to endure this tragedy. He referenced a quote by Soren Kierkegaard, “Faith sees best in the dark.”
Soren Kierkegaard was called “the melancholy Dane” and “the Father of Existentialism.” He lived for 42 years in the early 1800s and was a thoughtful Christian and an insightful writer. I have made use of some of his perceptive parables in my sermons. Here are some of my favorite Kierkegaard quotes:
The truth is a trap: you cannot get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you.
And this is one of the most crucial definitions for the whole of Christianity; that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.
If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility!
This much is certain: The greatest thing each person can is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally—weakness, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings…
Then we come back to the quote Biden referenced. It is found in Kierkegaard’s 1847 book, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, in a section of text entitled “The Gospel of Suffering.” Of course, gospel means “good news,” so the title actually means, “The Good News of Suffering.” That’s hard for us to deal with, yet it is at the heart of the Christian Faith. Here’s the full quote:
“The believer humanly comprehends how heavy the suffering is, but in faith’s wonder that it is beneficial to him, he devoutly says: It is light. Humanly he says: It is impossible, but he says it again in faith’s wonder that what he humanly cannot understand is beneficial to him. In other words, when sagacity is able to perceive the benefi(t), then faith cannot see God; but when in the dark night of suffering sagacity cannot see a handbreadth ahead of it, then faith can see God, since faith sees best in the dark.”
Kierkegaard reminds his readers that suffering is a necessary part of a) living in a fallen world, and b) living as a follower of the Lord Jesus. When those sufferings come crashing down on us, with the light seems to dissipate and the obsidian night falls hard, then our human senses and all worldly wisdom will fail us. In that dark night of the soul,faith sees best. Here’s, at least in part, what it sees:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18 (NIV)