Passion

They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.. (Matthew 27:28-31)

Hi Fighter,

Forgive me if you feel I’m dragging you to the cross too early (so to speak). We are still a week away from Good Friday – the day when we formally remember the crucifixion of Jesus – but the church gives us the option of two sets of readings this week. One set focuses on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before the crucifixion) and the other on the crucifixion itself. Since I want to focus on the resurrection next week, I felt I had no choice. The crucifixion of Jesus is not something that we can skip over.

I mean this in all seriousness. I know that some people portray the Christian Gospel as a religious version of the power of positive thinking, but to interpret it that way requires us to ignore the New Testament’s preoccupation with Jesus’ suffering and death. In terms of pure bulk, there are far more texts in the New Testament referring to Jesus’ death than to His resurrection. Indeed, the Gospel of Mark (which has no resurrection account) has been described by scholars as a crucifixion narrative with an extended introduction! The death of Jesus is the focal point of the Christian Scriptures. That much is clear. What is not so obvious is why!

“Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on…. Now it is not sufficient for anyone, and it does him no good to recognize God in his glory and majesty, unless he recognises him in the humility and shame of the cross.” (Martin Luther in the Heidelberg Disputation [22, 20])

Luther is surely right. We like to think of God as the creator of all things bright and beautiful, and we pray to God, seeking more light and beauty in our lives. The New Testament seems to want to flip our religious intuitions on their heads, seeing beauty in suffering, hope in pain.

One reflection on the cross that has stayed with me is Jurgen Moltmann’s 1974 book, The Crucified God. Moltmann sees the cross of Jesus as the ultimate act of solidarity between God and humanity. God is love, and love always involves suffering. In Moltmann’s view, the crucifixion of Jesus is an event that not only changes our relationship with God, but changes God as well by enmeshing God in human suffering at a new level.

I appreciate not everyone will want to go all the way with Moltmann (so to speak), but he certainly reminds us of the distinctive nature of Christian spirituality as a form of engagement rather than detachment. In many religions, the goal is to detach yourself from the world and to deal with suffering by rising above it. The God of the New Testament rises above nothing. Instead, this God sinks to the depths of our human experience and shares our pain with us, and then rises, taking us with Him.

Our Sunday Eucharist and Bush Bash

We had another big weekend at Binacrombi, with the Bush Bash on Saturday night and a wonderful Sunday Eucharist the following day. The highlights of both are featured below. A big thank you to Doug and Andrew and Father Elias, and a special welcome to our newest participant, Lhendup Retty, who did his best to knock me out on the Saturday night before being alongside me for the Sunday Eucharist.

This week we welcome back our Muslim brother, Tom, to give us the Torah reading, along with the ever-capable David Baldwin, with Rev. Stephen Sizer giving us a pre-recorded reflection on the Epistle. Please do join us this Sunday at midday via www.thesundayeucharist.com or via your favourite social media platform: Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram.

Let me work your corner

Thank you once again to all of you who support Fighting Fathers Ministries through your prayers and through monthly financial contributions. If you’re not contributing financially and you can afford to, please go to Patreon.com and sign up to either:

Middleweight – $10/month (community mentoring)
  • Enrol in the Fighting Fit training program
  • Access member-only training videos
  • Engage in the members-only forum (see below)
Super-Middleweight $50/month (remote mentoring)
  • All of the above +
  • One-on-one mentoring via email, phone, or Skype
Heavyweight – $100/month (in-person mentoring)
  • All of the above +
  • Unlimited training at Father Dave’s Old School Boxing Academy
Superheavyweight – $200/month (intensive in-person mentoring)

Every dollar helps keep the wheels turning – the websites, the newsletters, the broadcasts, the boxing club and the bush camp. Sign up at Patreon.com.

What’s On?

I’ve included my prospective fight at the end of the list though it’s not confirmed yet. I’m praying hard that we can make it happen as I haven’t had an official fight in more than a year now and it’s going to make it difficult for me to keep my professional license if I don’t get one soon. Moreover, I still feel I have my best fights left in me (though I recognise that every old punch-drunk pug thinks the same thing).

Either way, the prospective fight also gives me extra motivation to sharpen my training techniques and overall fitness routine, and I’m keen to share what I’ve discovered with anyone who is interested. The best way for you to benefit from what I have to offer is to join me for a weekend at Binacrombi. I already have some good souls booked in for the Easter weekend but I’m sure we can manage a few more. Please let me know ASAP and I will set aside a cabin for you.

As mentioned, I’m working on my BLEST system for physical and spiritual health:

1.  Breathing
2.  Listening
3.  Eating
4.  Stress
5.  Touch

If you can’t do Easter, I intend to run these Warrior Weekends every two weeks, excluding the weekends where we have other key events, such as the Down the Rabbit Hole fundraiser and my fight. Take a look at your calendar and pencil in a weekend, and let me know via email or call phone (800 620 706) or via Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram.

Let me conclude today by once again by urging you to get your tickets to the Down the Rabbit Hole Ball  ASAP. It’s all happening on Saturday, April 29th. You can read all about it here and book at Trybooking.com

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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