A God Who is Very Different from the Almighty

AugsburgerFrom the conclusion of David Augsburger’s recent piece “Lent: Is God Like Jesus?” originally posted on The Mennonite blog. Read the entire Lenten reflection here.

“Christ is not only God-like, but God is Christ-like,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in Strength to Love (1963). The Christian gospel proclaims a God who is very different from “the Almighty,” the historic God among all the gods who is, by trusted definition, an omnipotent paragon of ultimate invincible irresistible power. The God of Jesus Christ, in Leonardo Boff’s phrase, is “weak in power but strong in love” (Cry of the Earth; Cry of the Poor, 1978).

God is like this gentle good gracious guest at Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ home, at Zacheus’ table, at Simon’s banquet, at Cleophas and spouse’s supper.

God is like this beaten man bleeding out of the corner of the mouth when slapped, stripped down the stripped bareback when flogged, blinded by running blood from a thorny crown, nailed fast hand and foot by brutal soldiers. God is this kind of fellow sufferer with all who undergo abuse and torment.

God is like the caring hand of the healer anointing blind eyes, touching untouchable lepers, noticing the lightest touch of the seeker who grasps a corner of the robe.

God is like the herder shooing the cattle from the temple while talking about the meaning of prayer, like the man on the back of the satirical donkey riding into the Jerusalem gate like the Roman conquerer mounted on the finest of stallions, dripping with irony and truth.

God is like this Jesus. Look and see. See Jesus, see God.

David Augsburger is a senior professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and attends Peace Mennonite Church in Claremont, California.

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