I was reading my favorite theologian this morning and came across several bits of his writing about Jesus' demanding and powerful statement that:
"If anyone want to follow me, that person must turn away from themself and take up their cross and live a life of following me. Because whoever wants to save one's life will ruin it, but whoever throws one's life away out of devotion to me, will actually save it." (Matthew 16)
I love Frederick Bruner's thoughts on this!
Here is a taste of Bruner's brilliance:
"Jesus words mean first of all, 'Turn away from even your best and highest religious ideas.' Jesus is giving us a way to loose ourselves from being gripped by the concerns of human beings, and that way is decisively to disown ourselves and the lordship of our own thinking and to go under new management. Self-denial is not so much giving up chocolates at Lent as it is giving up on ourselves as lords; it is the decision to let another Lord rule one's life."
"Behind and underneath the call to cross-bearing is the call to believe that Jesus is more real than death."
"One wins this life, Jesus dares us to believe, both here and beyond, in throwing one's life away. The Christian life is a 'throwaway' life, a life that in a great dare decides that Jesus is what life is all about and that following him is the greatest adventure of life."
"Jesus is not anti-our-life; he is anti-preoccupation-with-our life ... When we turn our backs on our lives - surprise! We receive our lives!"
So much thought-provoking stuff for just one day!
What a dare ... to believe Jesus is more real than death and thus to throw our lives away in a grand adventure under his rule and reign!
Sign me up.