In HOPE
back to home

   

 

David Timms 

Issue 5.8

Ministry Resource

Calvin Miller's Once Upon a Tree (Howard, 2002, 214pp) is a wonderful book to lead into Easter. Each chapter ponders the significance of the Cross for the deepest questions and issues of our lives. Miller is a poet and his writing is rich and vivid. A powerful book to refocus us on what matters most. Perhaps this is one to buy and schedule to read next year. 

HOPE Happenings

This week HOPE is hosting a Women's Conference with author and speaker Angela Thomas. She will be speaking in sessions Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday, addressing the beauty that God sees in every woman. For info, see www.hiu.edu .

Crucified then Glorified

We want wealth without work, good health without exercise, weight loss without dieting, sharp minds without reading, and spiritual formation without discipline.

 

The list continues: intimacy without commitment, children without obligation, rights without responsibilities, power without surrender, success without failure, and popularity without humility.

 

In short, everyone wants everything to be easy. We constantly search for the path of least resistance.

 

Thus, the prospect of a triumphal entry is very attractive. But please spare us the looming shadow of a cross in the background.

 

This coming weekend is Palm Sunday. We remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem to the accolades of the crowd. We celebrate the kingly procession, short-lived though it was. We rejoice in this demonstration of power and popularity. Like the disciples of old, we're excited by the adulation and applause of the crowd. Here's the "easy" Kingdom we hope for, too. 

 

But Palm Sunday is not a model of success. To the contrary. It highlights everything we must then sacrifice to the Cross if real glory is to be experienced. We prefer a theology that turns BMWs, fat bank accounts, expensive furniture, Harley-Davidsons and two-storey homes into the norm for the faithful.

 

But the Cross casts a dark shadow across such temporary triumphalism. The Faithful One traded the cheers for jeers. The coats laid before his 'steed' were retrieved and soldiers gambled for His single cloak as He hung naked. The palm branches of prestige became the hyssop branch of pain relief.

 

Surely Easter, more than any season of the liturgical year, jolts our senses. There is no lasting glory without a Cross.

 

The Cross confronts our longing for cheap grace. The pathway to glory is inevitably the via dolorosa. Just when we realize that we'd like to have our name above every other name we receive the instruction to empty ourselves entirely of everything.

 

If we are privileged to lead others, we may be flattered by their tones of approval. They affirm our commitment to Christ. They extol our willingness to serve the saints, while all the while our lives may be utterly unrepentant and uncrucified. We ride the donkey of competence, and fail to mortify our secret inner man.

 

Even when we crucify the old man, he can resurge to resurrection. Calvin Miller aptly writes: " People who honor God will often be admired for clothing themselves in Christ. The trick is to live in the midst of admiration without stopping overlong before our dressing mirrors.... Crucifying ourselves is therefore daily. If we forget to do it on Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday, we might never think of it again." (p.160)

 

This Palm Sunday may be a celebration of sorts. It can also be seen as preparation ... for death. As we approach Easter, let's affirm afresh the age-old truth in our own lives: crucified then glorified. May each of us honestly declare with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2.20).

 

In HOPE -

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

Want to chat more on a topic? I welcome your insights and responses.

If you have received this e-publication from family or friends and would like to subscribe to "In HOPE", simply email me at djtimms@hiu.edu and write "Subscribe to In HOPE" in the subject line. This is a free service, with no advertisments and no sharing of the e-list. Unsubscribe in the same way.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and his views are not necessarily those of the administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/