Summary: In view of the cross and resurrection - we have to see it - for us to realize that our sorrow now - is not permanent - but joy-filled
Let us Rejoice - He turns sorrow to Rejoicing
Let Us Rejoice, For He has made Sorrow – Dance!
† IN HIS NAME †
May the Grace, the Mercy and Peace that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ has poured out on you through the Spirit, create is us the ability to rejoice and worship!
Logo without a Cross?
I’ve been doing some research recently, on how to create a logo for our church. A simple picture, which would express what Concordia is, to those who have not yet experienced God’s presence with us, the blessings that God pours out on us, through word and sacrament.
As I was reading a few professional articles Tuesday night, one struck me. It claimed that one shouldn’t include a cross in their logo. I was a bit taken aback, for almost every design I found that seemed to picture what we trust in, had a cross involved in it. I can’t really imagine a picture describing our faith, without one. So I read their argument, as it claimed that people don’t get the cross, it’s archaic, it’s a instrument of torture, and it sends the wrong message, and drives off people. Logos are supposed to be upbeat, and creative, and draw people to you.
The funny thing is, there is a part of me, that found their words honest and sincere, and at a level they made sense. So often Christianity is pictured as a somber, reverent, well behaved religion, where everyone behaves perfectly, and everyone’s life is full of happiness and joy.
I wish it were so. Too often, I see a different valley, the valley of the shadow of death. The valley of sorrow, and grief, of pain and agony. The valley were sin’s damage is all too easily seen, and the pain it causes it toxic, reaching out as it creeps in and destroys what peace and joy we have.
As I thought through their point, I also began working on this message. And it struck me, how both the ignorance of Christ’s pain and suffering, and the dwelling on our own situation, was experienced by the disciples, and how what we need to hear, is what Jesus pointed out to them.
Rejoice my friends, for we shall see sorrow turn to joy….
What they couldn’t bear to grasp
Jesus starts out with an odd phrase there, in verse 12. “12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” At this point, many of his disciples had been travelling with him over two years. They had heard the sermon on the mount, and many parables about the kingdom. They had seen miracles, and had been sent out to proclaim God’s kingdom, His reign, was here. They had even done miracles, and freed people from demonic possession.
But they can’t bear this. Literally, they didn’t have the dynamous – the power – the ability to grasp what was going to happen soon in Jerusalem. It was beyond their ability – this concept that the Spirit would eventually come and show them how it all fit together – even as the Trinity itself fits together. Not that they, or us can get our mind around the full expression of the Trinity.
Jesus prophesies, He shares with them the unbelievable fact that he will not be with them – using a phrase often used as a euphemism for death. They picked up on that, this phrase about going to the Father. But how could he die, for a little while, and then return?
They can’t get their minds around this – “in a little while”. Indeed, without reference, it doesn’t make any sense.
IN the midst – can we grasp the joy? This joy?
Jesus will go on, to talk about the sorrow they will experience. The words are powerful, the image of the suffering and pain of childbirth, and the joy of looking down at a baby are intense. Remember, this is before the creation of the various aids that diminish pain, before clean and antiseptic waiting rooms, with Obgyns
I think there is a tendency to forget, a first, the context of what Jesus is talking about, when talking about the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise of turning sorrow to hava negilah – joy filled dancing!
While we want to apply it to our suffering now, to give us hope that we shall get through the dark times, and the times of mourning, and dealing with our pains, we miss something if we jump right to that point. Many of us need that comfort, many of us need to know that our suffering does transform into glorious joy, that our mourning will result in dancing.
Yet, this passage is first and foremost about the experience the disciples will go through, the separation from their Lord and Master, as He is beaten, and scourged, and nailed to a cross that the world would rather not remember. For once, as they crucified the King of Glory, (as Paul calls Him in 1 Corinthians 2) they celebrated. They had thrown off the painful reminder of their sin, their rebellion against God.