onsdag 3. mai 2017

Present as human – a time for everything *


“Save me!”

In this way I challenged some of the participants at the candidates’ weekend during the individual interviews we conducted one month ago.
Melissa answered:

“We should become friends first!”

I liked that answer and it was clear that Melissa had understood the importance of building relationships in order to convey the gospel in a good and credible way. Perhaps she had learned from Jesus when revealed himself to after the resurrection:

“It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Luke 24:39
In order for the disciples to believe him, Jesus had to be present himself as a man with flesh and bones. I think this is an important lesson for a follower of Jesus. It is OK and important with Bible knowledge, but if I meet my fellow men as a theologian and not as the human Jostein, I lose the opportunity to show what the gospel ‘does’. This aspect can easily drown while the theologian Jostein teaches about what the gospel ‘is’.

I spent a long time trying to understand Grundtvig's aphorism: “Human First - Then Christian!”. However, I have come to accept that his emphasis highlights a very important aspect. If I am not first and foremost human among my fellow men, the 'incarnation' (= Jesus present in his body in the world through me), is not fulfilled in the way God wants it to be.

So, dear Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1), although I love your hymns and your songs and am grateful for your vision that became the wonderful ‘folk high school movement’, they who know me well are likely to be surprised when they see that I have chosen the following

‘Manna’ for today:

Human first, then Christian!
... I doubt that I would have made that choice some years ago, but I see your point, and that it is good!
(1) The painting portrays Grundtvig in a mild version
* 'A time for everything' is connected with the Bible's teaching about a 'season for every activity' Eccl 3 This series is about the teaching in the time between Easter and Pentecost. 

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