Friday, 17 June 2011

'See in it a chance to die'

Lord Crucified, O mark Thy holy cross
On motive, preference, all fond desires;
On that which self in any form inspires
Set Thou that sign of loss.

And when the touch of death is here and there
Laid on a thing most precious in our eyes
Let us not wonder, let us recognise
The answer to this prayer.
Amy Carmichael, of Northern Ireland / India

Or as Ajith Fernando of Sri Lanka wrote, in Embracing suffering in service:
The biblical model of community life is Jesus’ command to love one another as he loved us — that is, for members to die for other members (John 15:12-13). The model of Christian leadership is that of the Good Shepherd dying for the sheep (John 10:11-15). We don’t discard people when they have problems and cannot do their job properly. 
As the cross is a basic aspect of discipleship, the Church must train Christian leaders to expect pain and hardship. When this perspective enters our minds, then pain will not touch our joy and contentment in Christ.  

In a world whose idols are physical health, appearance and convenience, God may be calling Christians to demonstrate the glory of the gospel by being joyfully contented while enduring pain and hardship. People pursuing unsatisfying things may be astonished when they see Christians who are joyful and content after depriving themselves of these, for the sake of the gospel.
Patrick Fung, Singapore, director of OMF, in partnership - equilibrium vs diversity:
The cross is at the centre of reconciliation. The cross symbolises death in obedience to God. And therefore true biblical partnership requires of each of us something of a death to self. It may be death to our own ambition in order to see others succeed. It may be death to our own desire to be in key positions of influence or controlling power so that others can be in positions of leadership. It could be death to our own opinions or insisting on how ministries should be run, but trusting others to be used by God, for greater work. 
Having criticised the word equilibrium, I believe that we could have a new equilibrium, that is, a kingdom equilibrium which comes from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. When members of God’s community contribute sacrificially for the sake of the Kingdom. Equilibrium is possible, when there is submission to Jesus Christ, when there is submission to one another, and there is death to self.

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