The lyrics of “Christus Paradox”, sung early in this concert, review an array of seeming contradictions. Jesus is the Lamb of God and He is also the Good Shepherd. He brings peace and also the sword. He walks with us daily and also sits at the right hand of God. Jesus is both God and man? How could Jesus say “I am with always you to the very end of the age” as he was leaving? How do we make sense of this?
Must it all make sense? God’s Word reminds us that our understanding has limits.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’”. -Isaiah 55:8-9
God is God. We are not. What place does proof have in matters of faith? How can we explain the miracles of Moses, Elijah, or Jesus? What about the day the sun stood still for Joshua and the Israelite army? How can we understand God making everything by simply speaking? Is there a rational explanation for Jesus’ resurrection?
While Jesus often provided human-friendly explanations such as parables, not everything about heaven and earth can be grasped by fallen humanity. The dualities in the nature of Christ are beautiful in faith, but a joke to reason. Faith is so thankful that God chose to love in a special way. But reason sees something unusual and suspects a scam. The things that don’t make sense about God can be the most comforting. The standard operating procedure of fallen humanity wouldn’t do us much good. God is surprising Love.
In Jesus, God is God...and God is Man. He is the everlasting instant. Today we get glimpses of that everlasting instant in the Word and Sacraments. Witness the beginning of immortality at a baptism. Taste and see that the Lord is good in an ancient physical meal that nourishes your spirit. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest words that have power to turn lives around. Every spring time we have a picture of how God continually makes things new. The great “I Am” has become “I Am with you always.”
The artwork for this concert is based on an illustration I developed in 2015 for Joseph Schumann (of the Lutheran Ceili Orchestra) and Pastor David Scharf. I recorded sand animations on the hymn “Christus Paradox” for Tenebrae services at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Greenville, WI that year. This poster image was used to promote the service with a concise visualization of “Christus Paradox”. MVL Art Club students scaled up the image, drew and painted the piece for the MVL concert using simple hardware store supplies.
This image of Jesus wearing a royal crown and crown of thorns has become one of my favorites. It shows a God who became a man. It says that he volunteered. He surrendered himself to the Law to become the Gospel. It’s all about his relentless love for you. And even though it may not always make sense to us, it is finished.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”