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From Death To Life

... They will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead
Luke 16:19-31

Sermon Topic Hardness of heart

Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 16:31


There is a scene in Ingmar Bergman's "White Light" in which the Church sexton, a horribly crippled man, tells his pastor that he doesn't think the physical pain of Jesus' Crucifixion was as great as the ongoing suffering in his own twisted body. The thing about the Crucifixion that really got to him, he said, was that Jesus had given so much, He had healed so much, He had loved so much, and nobody cared. Nobody understood. When He died He seemed to have died uselessly, utterly abandoned. This, the sexton said, moved him far more deeply than merely reflecting on the physical pain Jesus endured.

But there is even more to it than this. Much more! From the very beginning, the Church has insisted that there was something unique about this death. Strange as it may seem, this death is a death that gives us life. Through this terrible Crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, we are able to experience life and hope and love fuller and more deeply than in any other way. Consequently, the Early Church put the Cross at the center of the Church's life and Faith. We sing about it and think about it and talk about it, but the strange thing is that whenever we raise the question of what this really means in our lives concretely, the answers are usually vague at best and at worst, downright silly. What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ died for you? What does this Cross really mean to you, and to the Church and to our life together? What does it mean to say that Jesus' death gives us life? We have a real problem here, largely because the theology on this point (the theology of atonement) has become hopelessly complicated. Atonement is probably the most complicated area in all theology. What does it mean to be "at-one" with God (at/one/ment). One theory of atonement is that Jesus died as a ransom for us--to ransom us from evil. There is a "substitutionary" theory of atonement which says that Jesus somehow died as a substitute for [...]

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