Monday, February 14, 2005

Cross-Shattered Christ: Reflection One on "The First Word"

Hauerwas contemplates the first of the last words of Jesus, "Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."--Luke 23:24

The first challenge from this reading is to move from selfish reading and hearing of the text to a God-centered reading. Is it really only the Jews and the Romans who do not know what they are doing, or are we also implicated? Yes, we are there. We, too, know not what we do.

"I didn't mean to" doesn't fly in our family. It doesn't matter. We are people who constantly know not what we do . . . so let's move the focus off our supposed understanding of the kind of forgiveness that we need and listen in to the words of Jesus spoken intimately to the Father.

Hauerwas says, "Ironically, by trying to understand what it means for us to need forgiveness, too often our attention becomes focused on something called the "human condition" rather than the cross and the God who hangs there."

He continues later in the reflection " . . . it is a stark reminder that these words are not first and foremost about us, about our petty sinfulness. It is the Second Person of the Trinity who asks, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The Son intimately addresses the Father. We look away, embarrassed by a love so publicly displayed."

Today, on "Valentine's Day," reflect on the relationship between the Father and the Son, the intimate words spoken that we get to hear, and in so doing learn something about this model relationship of all time.

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