Living Under Pressure

Pressure. Pressure is an important concept when it comes to theology and thinking about God. I was out in the rail yard building trains today, pressure cookerand as I had a moment or two to reflect I thought about the guys I was working with; I thought about all of the people driving by me on the Fremont bridge (the biggest bridge in Portland that traverses the Willamette River); and all of the other people in the world. I started wondering about pressure and how that relates to knowledge of God. I thought about relativism, and how that relates to pressure; particularly the type of pressure that gets exerted upon each of us as we come to consider what reality is, more pointedly, what or who God is. I mean who really cares about my ideas about God, or the people I work with and their ideas about God (or non-God as they might assert), or the people driving by on the bridge, or the rest of the people in the world?

This line of thought got me thinking; it made me think about pressure. Like what pressures or pressure is determinative towards giving shape about people’s ideas about God (or non-God) and reality? Like I said above, there is pressure that gives rise to all of our ideas; and ultimately that comes down to a pressure that is driven by my own projections and manipulations of reality for my own desired ends, or it comes down to a pressure external to us (extra nos), like from God himself. In this latter pressure then there are different ways to approach this, but for my money I think the only real way to approach this–knowledge of God–is if we allow God and the pressure of his life to shape and form the categories through which we come to know of and conceive of God. As Thomas Torrance says it of Karl Barth’s approach:

. . . Barth found his theology thrust back more and more upon its proper object, and so he set himself to think through the whole of theological knowledge in such a way that it might be consistently faithful to the concrete act of God in Jesus Christ from which it actually takes its rise in the Church, and, further, in the course of that inquiry to ask about the presuppositions and conditions on the basis of which it comes about that God is known, in order to develop from within the actual content of theology its own interior logic and its own inner criticism which will help to set theology free from every form of ideological corruption.[1]

As you peruse Torrance’s and Barth’s various works you will come across this type of approach to theology; Torrance calls it Theological Science (something he picked up from Barth among others). But this really isn’t a post about Barth or Torrance, but about where the pressure comes from when we conceive of reality in general, and God in particular.

At the end of the day I really don’t care what other people think about God, or reality; I mean I care, because I care about people. But what I mean is that what I am going to stake my life on isn’t going to be some philosopher’s creative ideas, or some theologian’s imaginative ideas about reality and/or God; I will stake my life on the God revealed by God in Christ. I will seek to allow the pressure of his life (whether that be through the teaching of Scripture and/or following out the interior logic of the Gospel) to impose itself upon all of my mused meanderings, and allow him to pressure me into his way instead of a way that pressures him into mine (no small task!).

[1] Torrance, Theological Science, 7.

Creation is For Jesus Christ

This is as clear as it gets in describing how I approach a doctrine of creation; of course, it comes as a description of Karl Barth’s own creatiounderstanding of creation within God’s economy of things. In case you weren’t aware Dutch Reformed theologian G.C. Berkouwer wrote a summary and critique (book length) of Barth’s theology, years ago, before Barth’s Church Dogmatics had been translated into English. I take this description of Barth’s doctrine of creation from Berkouwer’s description.

When Barth speaks of creation he does not have in mind an act of God which can in and by itself be a subject of theological reflection. The reason for this is that in his view creation is indissolubly related to the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. It is not possible to speak of a natural theology with an independent cosmological interest in “God as Creator.” The witness of the Scriptures is differently oriented. It does not witness to an abstract highest being as prima causa of all things, but it witnesses to the Lord of history, the God of Israel. In the history of creation we are concerned with the history of salvation. It is not possible to say anything that is meaningful about creation outside of Jesus Christ. Only in Him can we understand creation. And when Barth says “only in Him” he does not mean the creation of all things through the second Person of the trinity, but through Jesus of Nazareth. In creation we are exclusively concerned with the relationship of creation to Jesus Christ. By Him and with a view to Him and to His grace the world was created so that it is never possible to regard or understand creation “as such.” The biblical message concerning creation does not present us with cosmological or ontological truths of which everyone who is not wholly blind can take note (through the  natural light of reason), but it witnesses to an act of God’s grace. It is not possible first to come to a knowledge of creation in itself, and then advance to a knowledge of redemption in Christ. Creation can be seen only in Jesus Christ and in connection with the incarnation of the Word.

Creation, it is true, is the external ground of the covenant but, conversely, the covenant between creation and covenant, between creation and Jesus of Nazareth, draws attention. In order to understand Barth properly here, it must be remembered that he is not concerned simply about a noetic problem (namely that knowledge of creation is possible only in terms of the revelation in Christ), but also about an ontic problem which touches the whole being of creation. This world has been created “through the child that was born at Bethlehem, through the man who died on the cross at Golgotha and rose again the third day. He is the creating Word through which all things became. From Him creation derives its meaning.”

Barth has called this conception “a remarkable turn-about in the whole of our thinking.” But such thinking is necessary. It alone can prevent us from abstracting creation from the gracious and reconciling work of God and from seeing the history of creation as a “pre-history” which has meaning in itself. When creation is seen as meaningful in itself it is forgotten that God’s action in creation is related to Jesus of Nazareth. All that happens in creation happens in Jesus Christ “who is the primordial image, the model or system, underlying and giving direction to all things.”[1]

I affirm all of the above. Maybe this helps clarify further why I am so averse to working from a natural theology approach, as so much of “classical” theology does.

[1] G.C. Berkouwer, The Triumph Of Grace In The Theology Of Karl Barth (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), 54-5.

On Being a Free Range Christian

As Christians we are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and along with this commandment–being freerangethe giver of good gifts that He is–the Lord Jesus has gifted his church with a multitude of teachers; these teachers range across various traditions and denominations, and provide unique insights that can only be obtained by inhabiting their respective theological traditions in their respective ways. If we look at this reality the right way we will thank Jesus for these gifts, and as particular persons particularly located in our own respective traditions we will avail ourselves to the riches available found in these various teachers whether they be in our tradition or not; whether we agree fully with them or not. We will be driven by a desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in community with all of our brothers and sisters bound together by the singular reality that defines all of our existence as Christians; the singular reality of God’s life in Christ with us and for us.

Karl Barth echoes the sentiment:

In the Church there are fathers: father Luther, father Calvin, other fathers. Why should a free theologian not be their son and disciple? But why should he insist on complete agreement with them? Why should he artificially reinterpret their findings until Luther is in agreement with him and says what he himself so badly wants to say? Why should he not respect the freedom of the fathers and let them express their wisdom and then learn from them what in his own freedom he may and can learn from them?[1]

This is the way that Barth himself would want us to approach him among the other teachers that Jesus has gifted his church with. This is the way I approach Karl Barth, Thomas Torrance, John Webster, John Calvin, and many other theologians who Christ has gifted the church with. I obviously have my favorites (like Barth, Torrance, and Webster et al), as do you, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to die for my preference for one theologian over the other; I go to certain ‘fathers’ in the Faith because they edify me, and point me to Christ. And I particularly like Barth because he is humble enough to point the church to various teachers within the body of Christ and not simply to trumpet himself as the best of the teachers.

But I don’t, in the end, want to make this post about Barth, I want to herald the idea that we as ‘free theologians’ ought to feel free to learn from a variety of theologians; insofar as these theologians help to pique our imaginations and draw us closer to Christ as they point us to him, not away from him. Barth says further about being open to other ‘fathers’ or theologians:

A free theologian works in communication with other theologians. He grants them the enjoyment of the same freedom with which he is entrusted. Maybe he listens to them and reads their books with only subdued joy, but at least he listens to them and reads them. He knows that the selfsame problems with which he is preoccupied may be seen and dealt with in a way different from his own….[2]

In short a free theologian is someone who is humble enough to learn from others; even if these others might be at odds with us in some ways, one way or the other.

Ultimately, the point I want to press is what motivates us; what motivates us to be willing to draw from various pools of theological thought and insight? I believe that it must be an insatiable desire to know Jesus Christ at all costs! If we are driven by this love (the love of Christ), if this love constrains us, then we will be open to learn from others, from other theologians (which we all are as Christians); we may not always agree, but usually this is where the best learning takes place, this is where the important doctrine surfaces.

[1] Karl Barth, Gift of Freedom: Foundation of Evangelical Ethics in The Humanity of God (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1978), 94.

[2] Ibid., 95.

It Can Be Lonely Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus

17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. II Peter 3:17-18

Here St. Peter admonishes the Diaspora to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In context Peter admonishes the brethren and sistren to grow so that they will not be carried away with the error of unprincipled men; so behind Peter’s admonishment he is presupposing that growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ is possible and even imperative even in light of error, indeed, it is this growth that presumably creates a standard from which error has the possibility to err.

But really I want to reflect on something else; yes, it has to do with the ‘grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ,’ but more abstractly. What I want to reflect on a bit is how empty growing in this knowledge can become when 1) the growth takes the form of academic shape, and 2) this knowledge is only something that you or I are interested in, but the masses (of Christians) are aloof to.

When growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ becomes an exercise in not only reading Scripture (in depth), but also an exercise in reading the doctors of the church, most of this becomes nothing more than theological trivia for most; it goes over their heads (only because they aren’t motivated like you, for some reason, to work at understanding some of these depth concepts that are attendant to toiling with the implications of the Gospel), not because people, in general aren’t capable or smart, but because, for whatever reasons thinking theologically along with the theologians is of no interest to them.

And so this dovetails with my #2 above; because knowledge of God, growing in it in supposedly academic ways, is, well “academic” this way of growing in the grace of knowledge of Jesus Christ is sequestered for the egg heads among us; it is deemed of no practical or devotional value – and so most Christians remain aloof to this kind of “growing.” Again, this aloofness really has nothing to do with someone’s aptitude, it has to do (I would suggest) with something else[s]. I really don’t have insight into what it is that crowds this kind of knowledge of Jesus Christ out of people’s  space for engagement, but I would guess it has to with the busyness of life in general, and thus growth for many Christians, if desired at all, needs to be something that is quick, sound-bite,  pragmatic, and thus practical; practical as defined by how it can be fitted into the quickness of this life (a quickness by the way determined by a variety of societal-economic factors).

Let me be frank: I have spent the better part of the last 20 years engaging deeply (formally and informally) in the daily practice of reading big swaths of Scripture, reading theology, biblical studies, historical theology, learning the biblical languages, engaging in theology of the cross, and it feels abysmally empty. If you gain knowledge and have no one to share it with (in real life), it starts to feel marginal, like theological trivia, and like someone once told me (well more than one person), “it is your hobby Bobby” (with the underlying premise that thinking Christianly or academically [I guess, at least some people consider it this way] is really a vanity). Indeed, this is where I am at; I have no one to share it with, I keep reading and reading into a labyrinth, it seems. What I read and think about has almost become empty; seemingly a hallow nothingness (I know this sounds melo-dramatic, but it is the honest truth). I almost feel as if I have bottomed out.

But I don’t know how else to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ; indeed, it is not supposed to be something done in abstraction from fellowship with others. Nevertheless, because of my current employment I have almost no possible way to meet with any likeminded Christians to engage in theological fellowship of the sort where mutual edification can take place between myself and another, or others.

At this point it is all just starting to feel empty. And yet when I started out, in real crisis of faith (back in 1995), the Lord turned me to his Word (Scripture); my faith began to be nourished richly by reading words, God’s words, and this reading led to reading other words (teachers in the church), and I thought I was on my way. I used to deal with heavy doubt about God’s existence, and existence itself, but I don’t really deal with that pressure as much anymore. I used to deal with terrible guilt about particular sins from the past (and I am referring to way past), and yet I have come to understand (in a relative modicum of course) the freedom that I have in Christ, and this would push me into reading the Bible and fellowshipping in certain ways; but, like I just said, I have genuinely come to a place where I can accept and receive God in Christ’s forgiveness, and so I don’t have this pressure on me anymore. Am I saying I have arrived? Not by a long shot! I am saying though that the things that used to motivate me have blossomed into something fruitful, and yet the by-product (reading a lot of theology) has become something that is almost meaningless to others, it seems, and so it is starting to “feel” meaningless to me (hard to explain what I am really trying to say here).

I love Jesus deeply; I love my family deeply; I have not arrived anywhere yet, but I do know that Jesus has arrived for me, and so I rest there. I guess all that I am saying in this post is that it is lonely; that growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ can start to feel really empty when you can’t share that in depth ways with others (and this because of the daily constraints of this busy and real life). I am trying to say that it becomes lonely growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ when the Christian sub-culture you are a part of, by and large, considers the way you are growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as nothing more than a hobby. And I know that what others think shouldn’t really matter, but when growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, in many ways, is contingent upon fellowshipping with other live Christians, and most could really care less about growing in a “hobby-faith” (so labeled), it really does start to become a battle to keep going. But I will.

[Just remember that this is a personal blog, and so I am using it as such … as a personal blog where I reflect in honest ways, and as a place to vent through writing]


Barth in Context. The 19th Century German and 20th and 21st Century North American Evangelicals: Points of Contact as Commentary on Me [and maybe you]

20th and 21st century North American evangelical Protestant Christian theology has a lot in common with 19th century German evangelical
barthyoungtheology (according to Karl Barth’s accounting of the latter). Throughout the rest of this précis we will engage with a short essay that Karl Barth wrote entitled Evangelical Theology in the 19th Century. As we engage with this essay hopefully what will become clear (even somewhat self-evident) is how similar 19th century German evangelical theology is with what we know as 20th and 21st century North American evangelical theology today.

Like what gave 20th century (and now 21st century) North American evangelical theology its impetus (concern with answering her rather liberal ‘rationalist’ critics, who in turn were attempting to answer the rationalist critics of Christianity from without Christianity), so to, and previously (as far as chronology) 19th century German evangelical theology allowed its ‘cultural despisers’ to determine the shape that it took in regard to who got to set the agenda and questions that these 19th century German evangelical theologians attempted to confront and engage with. Barth writes in commentary on this:

The Key problem arose from the conviction that the guiding principle of theology must be confrontation with the contemporary age and its various conceptions, self-understandings, and self-evidences, its genuine and less genuine “movements,” its supposed or real progress….[1]

Barth, although being taught by and/or influenced by these German evangelical theologians (such as Hermann, Dorner, Schleiermacher, et al), as a pastor in Safenwil (Switzerland), during World War I, realized that this was not the right way to go; he realized that theology that allowed unbelieving or even believing people to determine the shape of who God was was really only an exercise in self-projection into the infinite (see his comment on Feuerbauch[2]).

As if Barth’s commentary above wasn’t enough he writes even more about the impact that this “worldly German evangelical theology” had upon the development of positive evangelical Christian theology (that he perceived the German [and Swiss] church was so thirsty for), and as he writes this time, it is at some length:

Theology, however, went overboard—and this was its weakness—insofar as confrontation with the contemporary age was its decisive and primary concern. This was true not only, as happened so often, when it addressed the outside world ex professo, in the form of so-called apologetics, but also when it dealt with the questions most proper to itself. Theology never failed to react, whether approvingly or disapprovingly, critically or uncritically, to impulses from outside, at times even with extreme nervousness. This openness to the world meant (1) that through the open windows and doors came so much stimulation for thought and discussion that there was hardly time or love or zeal left for the task to be accomplished within the house itself. With all its energies captivated by the world, 19th-century theology achieved surprisingly little in terms of a new and positive understanding of Christian truth and truths in themselves, a primary necessity at all times. The winds were enthusiastically welcomed and allowed to enter freely through the outside doors. This meant (2) that not a few doors inside were slammed which should have been kept open as well. Nineteenth-century theology ascribed normative character to the ideas of its environment. Consequently it was forced to make reductions and oversimplifications, to indulge in forgetfulness and carelessness, when it dealt with the exciting and all-important matters of Christian understanding. These developments were bound to threaten, indeed to undermine, both theology and the Church with impoverishment and triviality. The outside winds brought not merely fresh air, but also notoriously foul air. This meant (3) that fatal errors blew in, were admitted, and made themselves at home. These errors, far from being simply tolerated, enjoyed birth-right, even authority. Countereffects to be sure were not lacking, but there was no fundamental agreement about the absolute primacy of the positive tasks of theology in and for the Church, over against the secondary tasks of relating to the various philosophies of the times. Finally, we miss a certain carefree and joyful confidence in the self-validation of the basic concerns of theology, a trust that the most honest commerce with the world might best be assured when the theologians, unheeding the favors or disfavors of this world, confronted it with the results of theological research carried out for its own sake. It did not enter their minds that respectable dogmatics could be good apologetics. Man in the 19th century might have taken the theologians more seriously if they themselves had not taken him so seriously. Even the best representatives of this theology have never overcome this limitation, in spite of their exemplary openness to the world. And this was the key problem of 19th-century theology.[3]

And all of this because these German evangelical theologians, as Barth says, “they tried to find that point of reference in the world views where voluntary acceptance of the Christian message and the Christian faith suggested themselves more less convincingly and were viewed at least as possibilities.”[4] In today’s parlance, and in 21st century North American evangelical sub-culture we would call what Barth is describing of these German theologians with the language of “relevance;” us evangelicals simply want the world to see how relevant Jesus is to their worldly lives, and we will go to untold lengths to demonstrate these ‘point[s] of reference’ between the Christian evangelical religion and the religion of the world.


On a personal level, I often get asked why I like Barth so much. Because, I grew up as a dyed-in-the-wool North American evangelical (my dad is a retired Conservative Baptist pastor). And as time has gone on (from my birth in the early 1970s) into the present, the rootage of Fundamentalist-evangelical American theology has only gone further into the muddy waters of its heritage; a heritage shaped by its reaction to the ‘liberal’ theologian’s infiltration into her evangelical reality (and this is a complex story all by itself). I haven’t grown up as a “Reformed” Christian, but an evangelical Christian; and the problems that Barth was faced with in his day (of a theology shaped by a desire to be “relevant”), I feel in my own day (in a personal kind of developmental way). And so in Barth I find not only an antidote, but someone who in the alternative not only reacts himself, but who critically understands his own situation and attempts to offer a positive evangelical theological alternative that reaches deep into early church theology (Patristic), and into magisterial and scholastic Reformed theologies; and he does so as a man situated in a context similar to mine in two various instantiations (19th century German and 20th and 21st century North American) of evangelical theologies (which have broad and pointed points of convergence).

Hope this has been somewhat insightful for you.

[1] Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology in the 19th Century in The Humanity of God (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1978), 18.

[2] Barth commenting on a consequent of 19th century German evangelical theology that starts within and from human psychology (so Schleiermacher): “… On this ground there was no effective answer to be given to Feuerbach who eagerly invoked Luther’s sanction in support of his theory that statements of the Christian faith, like those of all other religions, are in reality statements of more or less profound human needs and desires projected into the infinite….” Ibid., 26.

[3] Ibid., 19-20.

[4] Ibid., 21.

I Need a Real Knowledge of God

I want to have a real knowledge of God, and so I look to Christ. This isn’t some cliché academic anecdote I am just throwing out there, it is historicaljesusfor real. I know that for some people doing academic theology remains just that; a highly intellectualist endeavor that at the end of the day doesn’t ultimately penetrate their Christian walks, but instead pads their CVs. If that’s you, then the rest of this post will probably not mean much to you; in fact it might sound somewhat melodramatic to you, but I don’t really care, it isn’t.

When I say that I want to have a real knowledge of God I mean that; I truly want to know (not with hundred percent certainty of course, not without remainder in every possible way)–with all of the provisionality connoted–I want to know that I am engaging with the real God, the real God who is the Christian God, and not some sort of metaphysical philosophical construction papered over with traditional Christian God-language. So for me (as I am sure for most Christians of every stripe, ideally) having a real knowledge of God does not entail an academic approach to knowing God (even though many people who even read what I am writing here will say that my approach is too academic; of course I am not sure what their approach is), it entails a visceral, even palpable need for God. I don’t need an abstract God, and thus I don’t need a God in the abstract; I need a God who can “save” me. I don’t know about you, but I deal with sin on an ongoing basis (I have my pet sins you have yours), and I need to know a God who can get into that situation and radically change it. This is my first real problem in fact towards having a real knowledge of God; me. I get in the way over and again. But this is what I am talking about; I am not trying to be cute or novel, I am being serious right now. I don’t need a theoretical God, I need a God in the concrete who not only can deal with my first major problem at a depth level, and deal with it in such a way that he provides a remedy for it; but I also need a God who can continue to deal with this depth sin problem of mine in an ongoing and powerful way, and hopefully at the same time he will allow me to know him as he takes off my sinward blinders and puts new spectacles on me.

Thankfully, as some solid theology teachers have noted, this is exactly the kind of God we have been given in Jesus Christ. Not only does he deal with my sin problem (on a daily basis too), but in that very dealing (or reconciliation between myself and God), he reveals himself to me so that I can have a real knowledge of God from a center in himself in his Son, Jesus Christ.

What would I do without this real knowledge of God in Christ? I would be the worst of sinners, no doubt! I would be worse than I am now, which is pretty scary to be sure. Without the resurrection, which we just happen to be celebrating today; without the wisdom of the cross of Christ I could never hope to have a real knowledge of God. I am afraid some of this discussion, among the theological types, has become all too academic and abstract. It is hard to come across discussions about a knowledge of God that don’t quickly reduce into an academic argument say about “death of God” theology versus postmetaphysical theology versus social conceptions of God, etc. Sure, yes, these are all important things to discuss, but if we lose sight of their context (so that we can have a real knowledge of God), and if their context’s become enclosed upon themselves and self-referential ends, then it all becomes too abstract, and real knowledge of God gets lost in our pursuit of a theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross.

Not sure if any of this has made sense. But this is just me being bloggy, and reflecting as transparently as I can about stuff; and yes, maybe even this reflection has gotten too abstract (sorry about that!).

Holy Saturday, The Chasm between ‘Now and Not Yet’

Wrote this about seven years ago.


Holy Saturday is the time that the “Western Church,” Protestants included (well some), contemplate the moment between the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the contemplation of the burial in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, . . .

What a time to contemplate the time between the now and the not yet. This time between Christ’s cross and humiliation of unspeakable depths, and the glories’ of His coming resurrection and ascension; analogically represent the time we inhabit now. We currently wait to fully realize the glory that Jesus has shared with the Father before the world began. And like the Apostles, Disciples, and hopefuls who followed Jesus to the cross, during this time of Jesus’ silence we can despair, be full of fear, angst, anxiousness, etc. We often wonder is this it? We face circumstances that seem overwhelming, that seem to eclipse and overcome the life of Christ . . . that make it seem as if Christ stayed in the grave. As Christians in this big world, some-times like the disciples of Christ (during this time in history), we can cower behind locked doors, scratch our heads, and wonder, “what now?”

If only the disciples would have remembered, and put 2 + 2 together, what Jesus had said to them in the past (easy for me to say):

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’ ~ Matthew 17:9

maybe their despair, their bewilderment, would be turned to joy. Maybe their burden would have been light. Maybe they would have been grieving as ones with real hope. But they forgot, at that moment of time they became so gripped with fear they could not really function (at least some of them, His closest). Even though we know the story, because we can read about it at one sitting, don’t we live like Jesus’ end was the grave? We fall into caverns of unbelief that seem to eclipse and overshadow what we know to be true . . . if only we would remember the hope, the hope that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 17, and the hope that was realized in Matthew 28:1-10.

As we look forward to Sunday, lets not grow weary by the unanswered questions and grief of Saturday. Instead of forgetting what Jesus has said about the resurrection (i.e. His second advent), lets glory in advance, in anticipation of the glory that will be revealed in us, as we are hidden in Christ. While we live in Saturday, in anticipation, lets rest with Jesus, lets, with Jesus say: ” . . . Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Lk 23:46).”

I think the best thing about this analogy, of “Holy Saturday,” is that it breaks down at a point. We don’t despair as if there is no resurrection, in fact as Christians we have been brought into the heavenly places with Christ (cf. Eph. 1), now; we have intimate union with Him now (cf. I Cor. 6:17); we have been given the Holy Spirit now (cf. Jn 14–16); and a whole array of distinguishing factors from those disciples of the first century. So take heart, don’t forget, this Holy Saturday, Jesus’ words of glory in humility:

. . . I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33