Snow, the Cross, and Celtic Music
Blogging has been very light lately. No particular reason. Meanwhile, here in the American northeast, yet annother snowstorm has put us over the 100-inches mark for the season. The piles beside my driveway are now officially higher than they've ever been. The world was certainly beautiful after the storm, the air crisp and clean and the trees all snow-laden, but nevertheless I'm longing for the beauty of Spring, rather than the beauty of Winter!
I've finally finished Stott's The Cross of Christ. What a wonderful book. His last chapter, entitled "The Pervasive Influence of the Cross," based entirely on Galatians, is a masterpiece. He lists seven cross-centered "affirmations" from that epistle. These are:
1. The cross and salvation (1:3-5)Stott's elucidation of these 7 points is just marvelous and inspiring. To give you a sample, I just want to focus for a moment on #3, the cross and preaching. Stott draws several basic conclusions from the text. First, "gospel-preaching is proclaiming the cross." This is so relevant in our time, when many popular preachers seem to be proclaiming nothing more than self-love (HT: Challies.com).
2. The cross and experience (2:19-21)
3. The cross and preaching (3:1-3)
4. The cross and substitution (3:10-14)
5. The cross and persecution (5:11, 6:12)
6. The cross and holiness (5:24)
7. The cross and boasting (6:14)
Second, "gospel-preaching is proclaiming the cross visually." He bases this on Paul's use of the word "portrayed" in 3:1, which is the NIV translation of the Greek word which means in this context to "put a picture before your eyes." Paul presented to the Galatians a vivid word-picture of the cross.
Third, "gospel-preaching portrays the cross visually as a present reality." To quote Stott: "What Paul did by his preaching (and we must do by ours) was to bring that event [the crucifixion] out of the past and into the present.... Paul's preaching brought it before their eyes so that they could see it, and into their existential experience so that they must either accept or reject it."
Fourth, "gospel-preaching proclaims the cross as a visual, present and permanent reality." Referring to the word "crucified" in 3:1, Stott writes, "The tense of the verb emphasizes not so much that the cross was a historical event of the past as that its validity, power and benefits are permanent. The cross will never cease to be God's power for salvation to believers."
Fifth, "gospel-preaching proclaims the cross also as the object of personal faith." In other words, Paul's purpose was to persuade them to put their trust in the crucified Savior. This would preclude all boasting, all pride, and all reliance on law-keeping to impress God and win his mercy.
Saw a wonderful band over the weekend, called Leahy. Kind of Celtic fiddle music, but with other influences as well. They feature step-dancing, too (think Riverdance). Wonderful, high-energy band of eleven brothers and sisters, if you can believe that. Among their repetoire are some lovely worship songs, as well. Beautiful!