Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion.
[T]he Christian is the man who no longer seeks his own salvation, his deliverance, his justification in himself, but in Jesus Christ alone. He knows that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him guilty, even when he does not feel his guilt, and God’s Word pronounces him righteous, even when he does not feel that he is righteous at all.
“That love of God is hard and marvelous. It cannot and will not be broken because of our sins.” – Julian of Norwich
“Theological formation is the gradual and often painful discovery of God’s incomprehensibility. You can be competent in many things, but you cannot be competent in God.” – Henri Nouwen
“When Jesus wanted to teach his disciples about atonement, he didn’t give them a theory; he gave them a meal.”- N.T. Wright
Can I be holy if my brother or sister is hungry, or homeless, or in prison, or sick or a slave? Can I be holy if I do not do everything in my power to change the situation in which my brother or sister finds himself or herself? Sometimes what I do is the simple act of charity and personal caring; sometimes what I must do must involve challenging the systems that put my brother or sister in that situation. (Gooch, 2006:44.)
When you and I venture to listen to another person ‘in the Name of Jesus Christ’ there is an unseen listener present, Jesus himself. We have to listen to him listening. We have to know Jesus and be ready to learn all his meanings too. And in the context of this listening it may be that he will have something new to say, something we have never heard before. And if we listen very carefully, with concentrated attention, it is likely that we will hear him speaking to us through the lips of a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, a man or woman of some tribal religion–or nearer home, a Marxist or a humanist. Jesus, now as always, is very full of surprises.
–Max Warren on ‘a theology of attention’.
What does prayer do for God? For one thing, he likes your company.
I cannot imagine a greater motivation to pray—that God enjoys having me in his presence. He enjoys my company and delights in listening to me! He doesn’t get bored with my repeated requests, and he doesn’t moralise if I get it wrong in what I ask for. He doesn’t laugh at me if I put silly, even impertinent, requests. He never makes me feel stupid. There is no rejection, only total acceptance.
… It is such a dazzling thought, that the same God who has countless billions of angels worshipping him sixty seconds a minute day and night, to whom the nations are but a drop in the bucket and who knows all about every leaf on every tree in the world, also welcomes my company—because I am indeed very important to him.
—Did You Think To Pray? By R.T. Kendall
God’s joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed.
As roses, up from ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
till one day it cracks them open.
But the great thing to remember is, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.
—Mere Christianity, CS Lewis