“Therefore Christ brings about brings about the unity of scripture, because he is the endpoint and fullness of Scripture. Everything in it is related to him. In the end he is its sole object.” [xii preface]
Henri de Lubac
After Pentecost the followers of Jesus began working to make sense of what had happened to them, the only holy text was what we call the Old Testament. They then began to read the Hebrew text looking for Jesus. They found him on almost every page. Some followers of Jesus have ignored, discounted or almost abandoned the Old Testament seeing it redundant. This of course is not the case at all. As Cardinal de Lubac (post before this one) puts it, “Everything in it (Scripture) is related to him (Jesus). In the end he is its sole object.”
This thinking has exploded my notion of how Holy Writ. It is all organically connected as living things always are if they are truly living. We will encounter the Holy One of God in all sorts of places if we look, thus the deliverance of the Children through the waters of the Red Sea from slavery in Egypt points toward and is fulfilled (filled full) those who believe saved from bondage of sin through the waters of baptism. This is called type and antitype.
I begin vacation next week for the month of August. In September 1st I begin a three month sabbatical. During this time I will continue to post as I think out loud about faith and practice. I will also chronicle my trip to the north of England from September 3rd until October 18th. If you have questions send them my way.
Authentic renewal can only occur by going back to the original sources of Christian inspiration — most notably, Scripture grounded in the Church’s Tradition as well as the Church Fathers–and then using this as a basis to think about the present.
Henri, Cardinal de Lubac
Recently I found a new title on Dove Booksellers, “Forsaken Firstborn” a study of how God seems to choose the “wrong” one rather than the one that should be the heir. We find this pattern in the Old Testament. God chooses Isaac over Ishmael. Jacob is chosen over Esau, his twin, even thought he is a stinker. Judah is chosen over his older brothers to be the father of the principal tribe of Israel. Joseph is chosen over his older brothers to be the one to deliver his family even though his brothers reject him. Jacob then blesses the younger of Joseph’s sons to be the chosen son.
As an oldest son I hope that senior birth order is not always the source of perdition and divine rejection. However this does seem to point to the spontaneous, creative and even, if I may say, playful nature of God who makes leaders out of cowards and elders of the deceitful. It gives me hope. Then a thought seized me that I had never thought before. Jesus, the first born, the beloved, was abandoned on the cross. Here the divine pattern is played out in a cosmic way. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” is the cry not just of Jesus but also of all the forsaken firstborn.
We are the descendents of Adam the firstborn yea even the forsaken firstborn alienated by sin. Jesus became for the forsaken firstborn. If that were the end of the story it would be a tragedy. But it is not the end of the tale. Jesus is not the forsaken firstborn he is the firstborn of those that sleep. His resurrection is for the forsaken firstborns and all those who have wasted their inheritance (and we all have) in the far country. The good news is that like Jacob the heel grabber who was reconciled with his forsaken older brother Esau, we too are reconciled by the death of Jesus who died as the forsaken firstborn, risen from the dead that we too might not be forsaken but have not only life in the age to come but life and that life full in this present time. Praise be to God who gives us the victory.