Posted by: Dan | May 23, 2006

Allowing God to Abandon Us

“Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
~John 20.17

God's only Son is not so dear to him that he cannot give him up for the sake of the world. So also we should not think that we are so dear to God that he will not also give us up for the sake of others. Whether or not this giving-up has its intended consequences strictly depends on our willingness to be given-up. Let us not cling so tightly to a God who desires to abandon us so that his lost sheep can be saved. Let us not cling so tightly to God that we do not end up going to our brothers and sisters with the proclamation that God's new creation is breaking into the world. Let us release our grip from God so that we too can be left in the solitude and the darkness of the empty tomb. Yet let us be confident that our descent into this hell is a victory; let us act with the confidence that our current godforsakenness is the very proof of our future vindication.

We may name this time which broke in with Jesus Christ's Ascension into heaven, 'the time of the Word', perhaps also the time of the abandonment and, in a certain respect, of the loneliness of the Church on earth. It is the time in which the Church is united with Christ only in faith and by the Holy Spirit; it is the interim time between His earthly existence and His return in glory; it is the time of the great opportunity, of the task of the Church towards the world; it is the time of mission.
~ Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline

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