“Does Christ come merely to improve our existence in Adam or to end it, sweeping us into his new creation? Is Christianity all about spiritual and moral makeovers or about death and resurrection — radical judgment and radical grace? Is the Word of God a resource for what we have already decided we want and need, or is it God’s living and active criticism of our religion, morality, and pious experience? In other words, is the Bible God’s story, centering on Christ’s redeeming work, that rewrites our stories, or is it something we use to make our stories a little more exciting and interesting?”
– Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2008), 24.
Category Archives: Christianity
I had the privilege of preaching at Atmosphere Church’s Good Friday service last week. What an amazing time of gathered worship. Together we gazed into the sovereign irony surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. The music, the teaching, the prayer, the celebration of the Table caused me to see and savor my bleeding, dying Lord even more.
Together we explored the ironies of the Cross through the lens of Eucatastrophe.
What is Good Friday? Good Friday is an oxymoron, a day of irony, of painful paradoxes. Irony makes us… laugh and think more clearly. Irony makes us see familiar things with fresh eyes.
But Good Friday is not just a day of ordinary irony. It is THE day of the THE Ultimate Irony. It is the most catastrophic day in all of history! But it’s a good catastrophe. It is a Eucatastrophe, the Great Eucatastrophe. The execution of Jesus on that Roman Cross on that Friday afternoon nearly two thousand years ago was the greatest, most complete, the ultimate Eucatastrophe ever and that will ever be.
J.R.R. Tolkien coined this phrase to explain how good things can come from catastrophes, how unpredictable redemption can be won in the midst of unimaginable loss. But Tolkien’s standard was not fiction or fantasy like his Lord of the Rings. He believed all of the happy endings in all of our fairy tales were but faint echoes of the real gospel of the real good news. Speaking of the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, Tolkien said: “There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true…But this story is supreme; and it is true.”
Tonight we stare into the day of irony, the day of Eucatastrophe, this Good Friday. With God’s help let us stare into the good catastrophe of the cross with fresh eyes.
- First we will see how Good Friday is a Eucatastrophe for Jesus.
- And then we will see how Jesus’ Eucatastrophe is good news for us.
“The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God’s wonderful mess–the place where he radically transforms hearts and lives.”
–Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 116
Ok. After reading this post I’m willing to admit two things…
- Maybe, just maybe, my love affair with Starbucks has been merely an allusion based on cool marketing. (I’m willing to give Dunkin another try.)
- Most of us don’t really know how awesomely good the Gospel of Jesus really is. Period.
Do you agree? Read What the Church Can Learn From Dunkin Donuts and let me know.