Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lamb Of God

Lately, I've been thinking more about Jesus, his life, his meaning, his purpose, and the image of the Lamb of God continues to come forth in my mind. It is challenging to realize that God in Christ is portrayed as both shepherd and lamb. The one who guards and protects is also the one who is vulnerable and sacrifices.

I recently read that the Orthodox have an understanding of Jesus as Lamb before the foundations of the world. I think they are right. We in the western church have this idea that because we messed up, that God humbled himself to save us, but really, what we see in Christ is that God's nature is humble, serving, and sacrificing. That is true power, that is true love. This is what Jesus taught.

Peter Enns has a thought provoking post on just how hard it is to follow Jesus and to live as he taught. I think we find it difficult for a couple of reasons. One is that our faith is weak, which is another way of saying we cling to our idols. Another reason is that it doesn't make sense to us. We continue to think like the world thinks, ignoring how Jesus took on the form of a servant while also telling his disciples, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father". The implications are huge, and I think when we finally understand that Christ lived kenotically, not as a fluke or suspension from his nature, but in expressing God's nature, we will better understand that we are called to do the same and in doing so, be transformed into his likeness. How else is what we are called to be even possible?

Below are two songs that relate to Christ as both shepherd and lamb. The first is Howard Goodall's setting of Psalm 23, which I've posted before. The other is a version of Agnus Dei, which is to me the most meaningful part of our worship, before receiving Christ himself. Both express the nature of the one who gives life, our protector and redeemer.

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