Suffering with the Messiah: Finding grace beyond 2020

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Abstract

Reflection on 2020 can hardly elide the irruption of suffering—randomly,
capriciously—into hundreds of thousands of lives. In this article, I will observe
how some of the biblical authors are fellow-travellers in naming the unfair
and scarifying excesses of suffering in lived experience. Their laments are acts
of emotional intelligence that resonate with the narratives of our “Zeitgeist,”
where suffering elicits unmitigated horror, despair, and hopelessness. But
as I will go on to argue, this modern kind of articulation of suffering as an
ultimate existential abyss that can only be resolved by banishing it, cannot
suffice. More is needed, and more is offered in the Psalmists’ framing of the
fact of suffering; and then in the solidarity Christ offers in his “paschal cycle,”
a journey into and out of suffering pioneered by him, and then graciously
extended to us, whatever forms of suffering we may endure. I will close by
suggesting that our churches are a better context in which we may together
appropriate this surprising new framing of our sufferings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalSt. Mark's review: A journal of Christian thought and opinion
Volume253
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2020

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