Sometimes when I hear a sermon or address that stresses the presence of God in catastrophic situations, let alone God’s presence in the midst of sin and sinners, I want to stand up and ask (tho’ I never do): “Do you really believe what you are saying? Are you willing to go all the way with such pronouncements, placing God in such desperate company? Or rather, is it just ‘Easier Said Than Done’?”
One’s pastoral and personal experience is that such declarations can be hollow. That is because it seems there is almost always ONE exception, in one’s practice and subjectivity, to the statement that God lives in our tragedies, our discomfiture, and our self-created torments. Usually there is a personal exemption-principle at work, despite all the talk of God’s omni-Grace.
Mary and I used to scratch our heads sometimes when a faithful person whom we knew seemed to lose all his or her serenity and peace in the face of a crushing circumstances, and most notably, in the face of their death. At times it almost seemed that a person’s Christianity had been a kind of masquerade. Or at least, a masquerade in connection with one very BIG point of pain.
So my question in the cast is, Do you really believe what you say about grace? And do you really believe what you say concerning the theology of the cross?
Oh, and so you know: the cast ends on a strong note of hope, lifted directly from the gateway to the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, where the words stand engraved:
“The Dead Shall Be Raised.”