Kierkegaard for Good Friday contemplation

Taken from Christian Discourses, 1848, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong.

1 John 3:20 … even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.

Even if our hearts condemn us. When the Pharisees and the Scribes had brought to Christ in the temple a woman seized in open sin in order to accuse her and when later, shamed by his answer, they had all gone away, Christ said to her, “Has no one condemned you?” but she said, “No one, Lord.”

Thus there was no one who condemned her. So is it also here in this sanctuary, there is no one who condemns you; if your heart condemns you, you yourself alone must know…. A heart may indeed accuse itself, but from this it still does not follow that it must condemn itself…. Yet we all, we whose hearts do not acquit us, essentially need the same comfort: God’s greatness, that he is greater than our hearts.

God’s greatness is in forgiving, in showing mercy, and in this, his greatness, he is greater than the heart that condemns itself…. God’s greatness in nature is manifest, but God’s greatness in showing mercy is a mystery, which must be believed.

Let no one be in a hurry in seeking, let no one be too hasty in wanting to have found a comparison for God’s greatness in showing mercy. Every mouth is to be stopped; everyone is to beat his breast – because there is only one comparison that is any at all, a troubled heart that condemns itself. But God is greater than this heart! … whether it was something terrible that so weighed upon your conscience that your heart condemned itself – God is greater! If you will not believe, if you dare not believe without seeing a sign, it is now offered to you. He who came to the world and died, he died also for you, also for you. … Do not torture yourself, remember that woman, that there was no one who condemned her, and bear in mind that this same thing can be expressed also in another way: Christ was present. Precisely because he was present, there was no one who condemned her.

Let us then here in your holy house praise your greatness, O God, you who incomprehensibly showed mercy and reconciled the world to yourself. Out there stars proclaim your majesty, and the perfection of everything proclaims your greatness, but in here it is the imperfect, it is sinners who praise your even greater greatness! – The supper of remembrance is once again prepared; may you then beforehand be brought to mind and thanked for your greatness in showing mercy.

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Unless you are a YEC, in which case the stars are liars, telling us that the universe is far older than what your pastor and church says is a fact coming from the Bible.

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Although in the days leading up to the crucifixion Jesus knew what lay in store for him, he had not been warned that for a certain period [when his agony was at its worst] he would be left on his own. Nevertheless he bore his suffering with fortitude and remained faithful to his Father. Thus, after the battle in hell and standing as victor in front of Lucifer, Christ could claim: “I proved my loyalty to God when I was completely on my own, unattended by the angels. I never doubted I am the Son of God. I never for a moment doubted the authenticity of my mission, even while I was suffering the most excruciating pains.”

“It is finished …”

The closer the struggle came to its climax, the more ardently the celestial spirits in the heavens and forecourts of heaven were waiting to hear a message from earth. When they were told that now he was struggling with death on the cross, everyone in heaven knew: soon it will be decided … It became progressively quieter and quieter in all the spheres« – then Jesus cried out: “It is finished!”

At that moment Jesus suddenly became aware that hosts of angels were drawing near him again. »He was experiencing how they attended him by anointing his brow and body. Now they were with him again and he saw that the hosts constantly grew in numbers as they approached him, and that they were dressed differently from the usual. They were now dressed for battle [ready to confront Lucifer]. Singing with joy, thousands upon thousands of angels came streaming along. Angels of God brought him the precious raiment he last wore in heaven before he was born on earth as a human being. These heavenly messengers, wearing gorgeous garments, also brought along his crown. Now he knew that his task as a human being had come to an end: »what he – the King of the spiritual world of God – had once discussed with his Father had been accomplished. Now the moment had arrived when he could say: “It is finished!”, he bowed his head and breathed his last.« Jesus had passed his unspeakably harsh test.

This news spread like lightning through all the heavens up to the very highest …« The words: “It is finished!” gave rise to overwhelming jubilation, and roars and thunderous acclamations of joy resonated throughout all heavens. The resonance of the exultant and rapturous response of the angels was of such power and might that it caused an echo on earth … the earth began to move. It trembled and shook; rocks split apart, and the curtain in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom … It was the sign that the new legislation announced by Jesus was about to take effect. The temple stood, of course, as symbol of God’s sanctuary and his legislation. Now, a new era had begun, brought about by Christ. The old order had come to an end – the curtain had been torn apart.

Walther, Hinz. Jesus – New Insights into His Life and Mission (Kindle Locations 5130-5154). Kindle Edition.

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