I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
So much has happened since our last post: the London Bridge attack, the general election, the devastating tower block fire. Again and again we have been reminded that we live in a world that is predictably unpredictable. You can follow the local (evangelical) parish vicar @revmarko.
The week has also seen the resignation of Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. In his resignation speech, Mr Farron gave his reason: “To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”
Mr Farron does not specify the exact issue, though it is noteworthy that it is “hold[ing] faithfully to the Bible’s teaching" that has caused the problem - and he has drawn a great deal of fire for this. Just this week his home affairs spokesman, Lord Paddick, resigned on account of Mr Farron’s views, and it is certainly true that the Lib Dem leader’s Christianity has been regarded by some as a “problem.”
Our tolerant society, it seems, isn’t as tolerant as all that when it comes to Jesus. But we should not be surprised, for Mr Farron follows a Lord who, in the end, people wanted to be rid of.
But there is something Mr Farron knows about the crucified Lord which many of his detractors don’t. It is that on that cross, Jesus wasn’t just experiencing humanity’s hatred and opposition to God; in the plan of God, He was dying for us.
This is real love! As Paul put it, Jesus is the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. It is a love which none but those who have experienced it can understand. And those who experience that love know that, when they face a fork in the road on account of their faith, they can only side with the Crucified One.
As Mr Farron himself put it: "Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour. In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something ‘so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all'.
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