Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Question is the Answer.

I'm preaching for the first time in my life tomorrow morning as I am a chaplain at a psychiatric hospital. I'm planning to preach on God's solidarity with the poor, oppressed, helpless, and hopeless through His own experiences in the suffering of Jesus Christ's life and death. I have experienced a wide range of emotions this week, but I've gleaned a lot of comfort from Karl Barth's writings on the task of preaching the Word of God. Here's something that was particularly meaningful to me amidst my preparation:

"Our questions about human life, even in their highest forms, are mere questions to which the answers sought are additional and must be matched to them. But as the Bible takes these questions, translating them into the unescapable question about God, one simply cannot ask of hear the "question" without hearing the answer. The person who says that the Bible leads us to where finally we hear only a great No or see a great void, proves only that he has not yet been led thither. This No is really Yes. This judgment is grace. This condemnation is forgiveness. This death is life. This hell is heaven. This fearful God is a loving father who takes the prodigal into his arms. The crucified is the one raised from the dead. And the explanation of the cross as such is eternal life. No other additional thing needs to be joined to the question. The question is the answer."

- Karl Barth, "The Need of Christian Preaching" in The Word of God and the Word of Man, 120.

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