Jane Williams: God’s verdict

The theologian and wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury writes:

As the earliest Christian writers and preachers began to think about what such a strange event might mean they concluded, not unnaturally, that it must mean something about Jesus. Jesus had been put to death as a blasphemer and a criminal, someone condemned by both religious and civil authorities. There can be no appeal against such a sentence, since it can hardly be reversed. But that is exactly what the resurrection did: it reversed the sentence of death; it gave a different verdict on the life and teaching of Jesus: God’s verdict.

So part of the meaning of Easter is to be wary how we judge. We do not see things the way God does, and we are extremely likely to get things wrong.

The resurrection is an event that defines everything. It tells us that there is no relationship that cannot be restored by God, no judgment that cannot be reversed by God and that nothing we do can empty the world of the life and love of God.

Jane Williams has written been writing for Comment is Free since December 2008. Here is her series on the Acts of the Apostles.

In the most recent in that series she wrote:

The Christian churches, in their current state, ought to be saying very clearly that we know we are not the proper inheritors of the teaching of Jesus. We are not the Kingdom of God of which Jesus spoke and for which he died. We call ourselves the “body of Christ” and yet we are shockingly fragmented; we interpret our discipleship on so many issues in simply incompatible ways. We are not “it”, however you interpret the “it” that Jesus was talking about.

But in my – obviously biased – experience and study, the church is still a very remarkable thing – an organisation that, at least potentially, is open to anyone, anywhere, which seems able to reform and change constantly, while maintaining some identity, and which expects that its fulfilment will be its abolition, its dissolution, into the Kingdom of God. It is founded on the fact of human inability to respond appropriately to God – the death of Jesus.

And she continued,

From my brief participation in Comment is free, I’m intrigued by this way of doing debate. Although commenters respond to each other, I don’t think it can really be called “dialogue”. There isn’t any very great sense of people really attending to other points of view – more of just reiterating their own, more emphatically.

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