Archive for the ‘Christ the suffering servant’ Category

The leg does not feel the chains when the mind is in heaven

October 30, 2009

140-230 AD Tertullian, encouraged a group of local Christians who were languishing in a Roman dungeon with these words, “Blessed ones, count whatever is hard in this lot of yours as a discipline of your powers of mind and body. You are about to pass through a noble struggle, in which the living God is your manager and the Holy Spirit is your trainer. The prize is an eternal crown of angelic essence-citizenship in the heavens, glory everlasting.” He also told them, “The prison does the same service for the Christian that the desert did for the prophet. Our Lord himself spent much time in seclusion so he would have greater freedom to pray and so he would be away from the world…. The leg does not feel the chains when the mind is in heaven.

Tertullian To the Martyrs chaps. 2, 3

The Man of Sorrows in Plato

September 2, 2009

…the just man, the man of true simplicity of character who, as Aeschylus says, wants ‘to be and not to seem good.’ We must, indeed, not allow him to seem good, for if he does he will have all the rewards and honours paid to the man who has a reputation for justice, and and we shall not be able to tell whether his motive is love of justice or love of the rewards and honours. No, we must strip him of everything except his justice, and our picture of him must be drawn in a way diametrically opposite to that of the unjust man (i.e. who is reckoned to be just when he is really on the make). Our just man must have the worst reputations for wrongdoing even though he has done no wrong, so that we can test his justice and see if it weakens in the face of unpopularity and all that goes with it; we shall give him an undeserved and life-long reputation for wickedness, and make him stick to his chosen course until death…the just man as we have pictured him, will be scourged, tortured, and imprisoned, his eyes will be put out, and after enduring every humiliation he will be crucified.

Plato (Glaucon), The Republic, 361c-362a

Costly Service

August 31, 2009

Robert Wilson was the only surgeon remaining during the Rape of Nanking – a city of a million. Why did he stay in such perilous conditions whilst the Japanese army brutalised the citizens?

“He saw this as his duty. The Chinese were his people,” said his wife. His uncle (John Ferguson) had founded the Unversity of Nanking and he was of a family of Methodist missionaries. He had enrolled at Harvard Medical School after winning a Princeton University scholarship aged 17. He could have cherry-picked the finest of jobs in the US but he worked around the clock under bombardment, atrocities, inadequate medical equipment and supplies and Japanese Army atrocities. On the afternoon of December 13th, whilst performing a delicate eye operation a shell landed fifty yards away shattering the window and spraying the room with shrapnel. The nurses were shocked despite no one being injured. He contnued the operation, “But,” he said, “I don’t think any eyes have come out that fast.”

His home was ransacked and defiled, yet he operated for free since his patients had nothing. His family believe only his faith and love of China preserved him.

adapted from Iris Chang’s, The Rape of Nanking, pp.122-129

The Cost of the Cross

August 26, 2009

In the film, The Green Mile, prisoner John Coffey heals people only by taking into himself the illness/evil into himself. Later he chokes it out, but the experience drains him.

The healing comes without a cost to the one healed, but is costly to the healer.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa.53.4). John Coffey did not die for anyone, but the Lord Jesus did so that those trusting in His death might live.

But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,

October 3, 2008

Shortly after the butchery of the First World War, Edward Shillito captured these thoughts in his poem, Jesus of the Scars: 

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now:
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.

If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.