Your Big Story

Dear Jesus, . . show me where my story fits inside your big Story. Help me to feel your care as the Good Shepherd, your nourishment as the Bread, your comfort as the Light, your welcome as the Door, your guidance as the Way, your sweet sustenance as the Vine, and your hope as the Resurrection and the Life.

—W. David O. Taylor, Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life, chapter 5

I-Thou

Christian worship is not awe in the face of an irresistible and unresponsive Power, nor is it the attempt to manipulate by magic or placate by offerings remote deities or the forces of nature. Christian worship is an ‘I-Thou’, not an ‘I-It’ relationship. 

—John D. Witvliet, The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Theology and Practice of Christian Worship in the Reformed Tradition (dissertation), 161 

Different Roads

We have lived for too long in the world, and tragically even in a church . . . where the wills and affections of human beings are regarded as sacrosanct as they stand, where God is required to command what we already love and to promise what we already desire. The implicit religion of many people today is simply to discover who they really are and then try to live it out – which is, as many have discovered, a recipe for chaotic, disjointed, and dysfunctional humanness. The logic of cross and resurrection, of the new creation which gives shape to all truly Christian living, points in a different direction. And one of the central names for that direction is joy: the joy of relationships healed as well as enhanced, the joy of belonging to the new creation, of finding not what we already had but what God was longing to give us. At the heart of the Christian ethic is humility; at the heart of its parodies, pride. Different roads with different destinations, and the destinations color the character of those who travel by them.

—N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, 233-34

The Hinge

Luther would not say that “good works make a person good,” but that “a good person does good works.” In other words, Christ’s righteousness—an “alien righteousness”—is imputed to us, and on that basis we then live out our Christian lives. John Calvin largely agreed and said that this understanding of justification was that on which the church stands or falls; it is “the hinge on which religion turns,” and all other doctrines are to be reassessed in its light.

—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 164-65