Friday, May 18, 2007

Would Jesus vote green? X

Guilt (cont)
I said there was something right about feeling guilty. But like the other responses, there is also something wrong. Not just because we feel guilty for the wrong things. Not just because others might sometimes be more guilty. No, guilt is an inadequate response because of Jesus.

He said he came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10.45). He wasn’t out to maximise his own benefit, but to do what was best for others, to serve. In the end, his service led to his execution on a Roman cross. He gave his life. Even as he was dying, his concern was for those who had been torturing him. He prayed: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing (Luke 23.34).* Even in death, he was serving. Indeed, he calls his death a 'ransom', a price paid to free those held in slavery. We are enslaved by our guilt, by our habits of selfishness and thanklessness. If we will admit our slavery, Jesus sets us free. Not free to do whatever we feel like – that would not be freedom from selfishness but just more slavery. But Jesus’ sets us free from guilt so that we too can become servants.
I realise there are textual issues with this verse. I choose to blatantly ignore them for the moment.

Jesus dealt personally with our deadly behaviour by bearing its consequence - death - for us on the cross. By rising again to life, he achieved a decisive victory over sin and death and began their undoing in the world. Because of this, we can be redeemed from death and set free from sin to enjoy a perfect relationship with our gracious Creator God.

Jesus’ death opened the way to both a new relationship between creature and creator, and a new relationship between human creatures and the rest of creation. Because of Jesus, we are no longer enslaved to sin or trapped in sinful ways of living: we are free to live in loving obedience to God - including by being good stewards of the rest of creation. We can be free from the godless greed and selfishness that led to our present environmental mess, free to live in the manner originally intended by the creator - namely in joyful submission to him, in selfless love towards our fellow creatures and with great care for the rest of creation.
Thanks to Meredith for some of the ideas and wording of this post. See her excellent series on ten things I think about the environment, esp this one. Ten points for guessing the Sydney suburb containing this quarry wall.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X; XI; XII; XIII.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I am highlighting your series on my blog, Byron. I look forward to seeing the kinds of actions, or practices, will flow from these reflections at the end.

P.S. You can always blog photos through Flickr or Picasa, the latter of which one can download for free.

byron said...

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, at the moment I am not planning a detailed list of outcomes beyond the level of the problem I have set up - that is, my series is looking at various common emotional responses to environmental crises and seeking to reflect theologically upon these emotions.

Thanks also for the tip re photos - I haven't yet tried blogger again. This has happened once or twice before and they generally fix it pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

Answer to question in series:



byron said...

Thanks Dave for that summary. :-)

Moffitt the Prophet said...


byron said...

You really are going all out to win this month! Unfortunately, not Balmain.

Moffitt the Prophet said...


byron smith said...

No, not Ultimo. Since you have almost nothing to go on, and you're persistent, I'll give you a clue (and to anyone else who bothers to read this). Where (near Ultimo) do you find old sandstone quarry walls?

Moffitt the Prophet said...

In several place, apparently. So, if not related to Quarry St, Ultimo, would it then be Pyrmont?

byron smith said...

It would! And particularly since I just gave away the location of a very similar image, I thought that "someone" might get this one soon. Ten points