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Genuine love

Somehow I just today came across Ernst Käsemann’s recently-collected book of essays, On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene. It’s packed with provocative and profound reflections on the Gospel in the New Testament. Here’s a taste:

Christian love as bodily surrender and daily worship confesses what it believes when it regards the earth as the field of its Lord, thus in its ideas and in its arms embraces those most distant, as well as the brother, the sister, or neighbor at the door. Only a love that extends worldwide, that does not merely give alms, corresponds to an ecumenically open faith. This assumes, first, that middle-class morality and tradition no longer serve as criteria for Christian behavior and, second, that risk, whether personal or in the church, is not to be avoided in service to God’s creation. Genuine love does not remain within itself. Faith points beyond itself and to all who have fallen among robbers and murderers. Genuine love ties the imagination of the Good Samaritan to the reason of those who recognize in the other God’s gift and their own task. Religious schizophrenia threatens us more and more. It separates Sunday from the everyday life of a meritocracy in which the whole creation groans and the Christ still dies among revolutionaries. In the school of Jesus we reflect on the fact that he preferred self-denying surrender to remaining in heaven and went as cross-bearer into the embattled no-man’s-land between interest groups and ideologies. Whoever cannot get free of all the entrenchments as he did will deny faith and love. Love is an export, and the cross is its distinguishing sign. Christian faith is unfruitful where it does not bear this sign. (pp. 164-65)

One Comment

  1. Andy Rowell wrote:

    Nijay Gupta, a new professor at Seattle Pacific in New Testament, is also reading this this summer. http://nijaygupta.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/my-reading-material-for-the-rest-of-the-summer/

    Friday, June 25, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

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