Chapter 26 » 26.55

The Light that shines for all

The Light of Christ

Jesus the Jew of Nazareth, … to me, puts a question mark and an exclamation mark to everything. It is not a matter of saying ‘Jesus is the answer’. It would be true and more useful to say that Jesus is the question. Here the questions of action and achievement, of God and humanity, are brought to a focus in the paradox of triumph on a cross, of God dying as a man, of a man living as God. Here the question mark which death and suffering put against the love and joys of this world is itself confronted with a question: ‘Death, where is thy sting?’ And in the light of this, we are faced with the question: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ I have found, too, that it is easy to side-step the challenge of Jesus. The history of the early church and the growth of the creeds, which are such red rags to Quakers, is precisely the attempt of the church not to lose sight of this paradox, this knife edge, this scandal. Constantly, people wanted to make things easier to grasp and more comfortable to live with by stressing the human side of Jesus at the expense of the divine or vice versa. No one would deny that the attempt to encapsulate the truth about Jesus in words is bound to fail, but the achievement of those years was to keep the tension that he embodies alive so that it has resonance now, instead of opting for an easier answer.

Hugh Pyper, 1986

← 26.54 26.56 →