One of, if not The key elements that sets Christian faith apart, is its understanding of God.
As The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Michael Ramsey said, God is Christlike, in God there is no unChristlikeness as all. So as we see Jesus, we must thus reshape our understanding of God.
In Holy Week we are faced with this Incarnation of the radical undoing of any idea of God that is a projection of our wish fulfilment, ultimately upon the Cross, the God who is Crucified, the God who dies.
Throughout the week there are markers of this strange God revealed to us in Christ.
Firstly at Palm Sunday, we are reminded that we worship a God who makes himself dependent upon us. Throughout the gospels we are confronted with the needy God, the one for whom there is no room in the inn, the one who must ask the Samaritan woman for a drink, the one who has nowhere to lay his head, the one who has no coin, the one has need even of a lowly beast of burden, the one who thirsts, the one who in the end will lie in a borrowed tomb.
He sends his disciples to find the colt, and the words he gives them is The Lord has need of it.
This is how this strange God comes into the world, not in fullness and power, but in emptiness and need. Challenging all our preconceived ideas about God, and continuing to challenge those ideas about God which even after 2000 years we refuse to lay down. Challenging our ideas also about Mission.
Our ideas about Mission tend to start with our Power, our Resource, and the need of others. Yet when God comes into the world, all he offers is himself, he even relies on others to feed him.
Rowlands Williams in an address to the Benedictine community at Monte Cassino, spoke of how Emgland was converted by Augustine’s monks, that the people were won over by their poverty and prayer, that like the disciples of old they took nothing with them and were entirely dependent upon the people to whom they went. How different to our perceptions about church and mission.
Our ideas if both are based on fullness and power, we ‘need’ our own money, education programmes, paid staff, etc etc etc. Yet, if Christ lives in us, why do we need all these extras? If . . .
Jesus comes as one entirely dependent upon those to whom he comes, there is Nothing that stands in the way of his message, He Is the Good News.
‘With Jesus our only possession . . . ‘ goes the words of a song. Dare we, like Christ be dependent on those to whom we go?