Cross – Shattered Christ

Posted: April 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

This past weekend while my better-half was in Michigan, I worked through a few books, one of which was Stanley Hauerwas’ Cross- Shattered Christ. This is one of Hauerwas’ smaller works and one he is less known for. However, it was still full of his gripping insights and ethical gleanings which Hauerwas is known for. For those of you who enjoy a short and very quick read, the book is only seven chapters long and just over a hundred pages. Despite the book’s short length, there is, however, embedded within these short chapters some serious depth revealing the fruit of one who has spent some time and contemplative energy over the cross of Christ.

In chapter two titled “The Second Word,” Hauerwas focuses on Jesus’ words from Luke 23:43 where the Christ says to the criminal beside him “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Hauerwas calls these words both “silent” and “enigmatic” as these words are so settle, yet so filled with hope. These words do not merely reflect the saving power of Christ, but also highlight the faith the criminal had upon his death bed towards our Lord.

For those of you who have yet to read a Hauerwas book or article, usually he puts into writing the hard questions we normally only think about and keep to ourselves. As he does in this chapter by saying

our desire to say and know more than the silence scripture forces on us manifests our uneasiness with the mystery of a God who would be known through crucifixion. Our attempt to speak confidently of God in the face of modern skepticism, a skepticism we suspect also grips our lives as Christians, betrays a certainty inappropriate for a people who worship a crucified God.

Hauerwas goes on to say that as Christian we often fear the habits of our imagination, and too often the way we live betrays our fear that we are “but bubbles on a stormy sea.” What Hauerwas is getting at is that often we have a fear of dying without anyone remembering us and that no one will be able to trace our existence back to anything great or anything at all. This is how we are like the thief upon the cross, all of us having the same plea, to be remembered.

There is a strange paradox resting hear as the thief, like so many of us, wants to be remembered for something, however, ultimately there is only One person who we should all aim to ensure being remembered by – Christ.

In closing Hauerwas says

Here, in this crucified Messiah, we see the love that moves the sun and the stars. To be ‘with Jesus’ means we are not ‘lost in the cosmos,’ but rather we can confidently live in the recognition, with faith, that God is not other than the one found in Jesus of Nazareth. How could we ever think we need to know more than this thief? Like the thief we can live with the hope and confidence that the only remembering that matters is to be remembered by Jesus.

Are we or are we not a people who live and breathe by way of memory? May we live this day remembering Jesus, being assured with the grand hope that He remembers us and with such, go forth towards others sharing with them our greatest memory – our Savior.

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