Tuesday, July 17, 2007

William Stringfellow on pain & suffering

FOR ALL WHO SUFFER PAIN. If you read my previous posts of William Stringfellow's reflections on pain and suffering, you will appreciate the following quote. It balances or puts a fuller perspective on the ambiguity and power of pain. Stringfellow sees in the Resurrection a this-life, this-worldly reality--particularly when we face the many personifications of "living" death. If find this word from Stringfellow consistent with Biblical theology and very promising for all who suffer pain.

NOT JUST AT THE TERMINAL POINT. "The resurrection is impregnated with all that has gone before. These encounters of Christ with death and its powers in history mean that his triumph over death there shown is offered for human beings and for the whole world. His victory is not for himself but for us. His power over death is effective not just at the terminal point of a person's life but throughout one's life, during THIS life in THIS world, right now."

HERE AND NOW. "This power is effective in the times and places in the daily lives of human beings when they are so gravely and relentlessly assailed by the claims of principalities for an idolatry that, in spite of all disguises, really surrenders to death as the reigning presence in the world. His resurrection means the possibility of living in this life, in the very midst of death's works, safe and free from death."

EVEN FOR THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS. "Christ's resurrection is for human beings and for the whole of creation, including the principalities of this world. The reign of death and, within that, the pretensions to sovereignty over history of the principalities, is brought to an end in Christ's resurrection. The claim of a nation, ideology, or other principality to rule history, though phony and futile, is at the same time an aspiration for salvation, a longing for the reality that does, indeed, rule history. In the same reality in which the pretension of the principality is exposed and undone, how and in whom salvation is wrought is disclosed and demonstrated. In Christ is both the end and fulfillment for all principalities, for all humanity, and for all things."

From A Keeper of the Word

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