As part of my studies, I am trying to wrap my mind around Alan E. Lewis’s fine book, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday. You will be hearing much more about this book in days to come as we move through the Lenten season and Holy Week. For today, I will share with you one of its luminous passages. The late author penned passages that cry out for contemplation. This is rich food indeed. One reviewer said, “A stunning volume… Few works of contemporary theology so wonderfully combine great learning, stylistic eloquence, and moving depth of insight,” and I concur.
Here is one such passage: for your meditation and our discussion today.
…The only way to defeat the power of sin, without denying its reality or reducing its hostility, is to go beyond it, surpassing its mighty negativity with yet more abundant creativity, its deadliness with overflowing life, its emptiness with presence and with filling.
This is surely the core of faith’s good news, but also its great difficulty. The protest of unbelief is that the world is godless and unjust, a place of lovelessness, iniquity, and pain. Faith, by contrast, hears and speaks a word of promise — that nothing, however evil, can separate us from God’s love, so that the world’s sure destiny is peace and joy. Yet that confidence itself contains the temptation so to proclaim the world’s salvation as to take no longer seriously its distancing from God through suffering, sin, and death. There is a “faith” which has forgotten what it is to doubt; a way of hearing which no longer listens to the silence; a certainty that God is close which dares not look into eyes still haunted by divine remoteness; a hope for some glory other than a crown of thorns.
Such supposed but cowardly and inauthentic faith and hope has failed to wrestle with the conundrum of the grave, evading the possibility that God is God among the suffering and dying, and that the King who rules the world is only a wounded lamb that has been slain….