In Silence, Rodrigues’ romantic vision of Christianity is one that exists as if there are no cracks. Filled by lofty propositional truths, and a God on a high and mighty throne, Rodrigues does his best to muster up strength to remain faultless. Continuing up the path of the hero, he repeatedly fails to recognize the cracks in his armor.
Christians may forget that Advent marks the beginning of the Christian calender year. It entails celebrating two events simultaneously: Jesus’ first coming and his second coming. The lectionary texts during Advent orient themselves more towards the latter, and it might be worthwhile to suggest that we do likewise.
It’s high time that we get back to celebrating the Christian New Year with as much anticipation as watching the ball drop at Times Square.
If we are always on the go, never at home, what sort of fruit can we expect?
there’s a flipside to this questionable living. Questionable living can be both a centripetal and centrifugal force. Many were excited about this Great Healer, but when he began talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, almost everyone ditched him. Not many of his followers followed him to his crucifixion. Many will take offense at the Light. Some will gravitate towards it; others will be dispelled by it.
Both Wesley and Whitfield were tremendous preachers, who were fully capable of gathering great crowds. Many came to faith as a result of their preaching. Wesley, however, knew that consistent and intentional discipleship was essential if the Wesleyan movement were to survive. Whitfield neglected this, and as a result his people were like “a rope of sand.”
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor, Rev. Daniel Simmons, and Myra Thompson aren’t just victims of a hate crime. They were martyrs. They were bold and faithful witnesses to the Lord unto the end. They became the gospel in flesh and blood. They took seriously the vocation of picking up their crosses and following Jesus.
Remember how much we see Jesus eating with people all the time in the Gospels? The simple and uneventful act of eating with people was central to his mission, and it’s not that difficult. That’s what the early church did. They met with one another in their homes, breaking bread, and telling others about Jesus. Likewise, when we invite others to share a meal, this is extremely meaningful cross-culturally. When we eat together, we discover the inherent humanity of all people. We share stories, hopes, fears, and disappointments. People open up to each other. And we can open up to them to share the same things, including telling them about the truly human one…
A covenant between parties is a two-way street. We aren’t mere recipients of Jesus’ salvific act. We aren’t coming to the table just to “remember,” and proclaim a big hearty “thank you.” We are called to obedience, to be faithful to the covenant in which we have been inaugurated. We are eating and drinking the atonement. We are being baptized into it. We are committing ourselves to the baptismal life, the-dying-and-rising-to-Christ life.
In some ways “Calvary” functions like a modern day parable: teasing us into thinking long and hard about its message, meaning, and implications for our world in the 21st century. I propose that the movie answers the question, “what does it look like to live as a royal priest prepared for battle in a Post-Christendom context?”
As I dive more into the Gospels and epistles of the New Testament, I realize that the call to discipleship involves the summons to presence and practice. We’re called to be with Jesus and practice what he does.