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Freedom toward humanity

If the prose is any gauge, it would have been quite enjoyable to listen to Ernst Käsemann preach:

Entering upon discipleship, who knows what lies ahead? Each day keeps us in suspense, so that boredom does not emerge. Discipleship does not merely involve our own salvation. This too must be learned, since Christians, no less than others, incline to circle everlastingly about themselves, to incessantly feel their pulse and that of their friends, to regard their own navel as the center of the world, and to forget that our God is not only concerned with the salvation of pious people. He creates his kingdom on earth, and it does not grow where religious and brave citizens stay by themselves. Advent breaks into a demonized world in which humanity continually retreats before barbarism, in which so-called factual constraints drive us into the war of all against all—for example, in the capitalist economy, where thousands of children die daily of hunger because the haves rake in power and money and harness all of us with our desires and duties to their wagons. God’s salvation embraces the godless as well as the pious, counts the poor, abandoned, oppressed, despised, and dying dearer than the strong, satisfied, and self-secure. God’s Advent stands as sign that humans must become more humane instead of competing with their Creator and outdoing one another.

In following Jesus, not only apostles fish for people but all the disciples whom the Christ forms after his image and calls to his mission, where over the wastes and the graves he wakens the community of those who become joyful companions of the needy, bearers of salvation. Only the one who is active in the service of freedom is free, a messenger and witness to the glorious freedom of the children of God. Freedom in and toward humanity is God’s will for his people and the meaning of every Christian life. God became man in order to capture humans for his glorious freedom. His servants are not to become divine. Through his Spirit they must become more human to bring freedom to a world racked by tyrants. Their service is not needed for heaven, but for the earth, which for the majority of its inhabitants has become a hell from which there is no escape. (On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene, 323-24.)

One Comment

  1. Eric wrote:

    Perhaps this is the paradox of the old dictum- God became human in order to make humans divine. Our divinity is a living into our humanity. As we draw into the ever deepening love of the Creator, we find ourselves maturing into our fullest potential as created beings. Of course, Irenaeus is my theological hero.

    Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

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