Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A redemptive society

"Any careful reader of the Gospels is bound to be struck by the obvious effort of Christ to make His hearers understand the nature of His cause. The effort was marked by the tireless use of a great many figures. He told His little company that they were the salt of the earth, that they were the light of the world, that He had turned over the keys of the kingdom; He compared His own work to that of bread and of water; He said the kingdom was like leaven; He said He had come to cast fire on the earth. At first the variety of these figures is bewildering, but a powerful insight comes when we realize, suddenly, what they have in common. Each figure represents some kind of penetration . . .

"The cumulative effective of all these figures is almost overwhelming. In any case, they make absolutely clear what the function Christ's company is meant to be. The Church is never true to itself when it is living for itself, for if it is chiefly concerned with saving its own life, it will lose it. The nature of the Church is such that it must always be engaged in finding new ways by which to transcend itself. Its main responsibility is always outside its own walls in the redemption of common life. That is why we call it a redemptive society." Elton Trueblood (Company of the Committed; pp.68-69]