I do love the internet - the way information is connected and how we can start in one place and find ourselves someplace else that was completely unexpected!
This morning I happened to run across an Albert Schweitzer quotation that I posted on one of my other blogs, Meditation Matters, and, in finding a link for Schweitzer to add to that post, also happened to run across the name Ernst Käsemann.
I had not thought about Käsemann for many years but his writings were of great interest and inspiration to me when I was in graduate school back in the 70s. A pupil of Bultmann, he was part of the Confessing Church movement during the 1930s in Germany and ended up in Gestapo detention as well as later becoming a prisoner of war. (His academic work was primarily on the subject of the "new quest" for the historical Jesus.)
I then found a sermon about Käsemann entitled "A Confident Wandering" by Barry J. Robinson. Here's an excerpt:
We all started out with such fervent hopes and dreams. Faith seemed so sure and alive and wonderful. But life has a way of exploding those temples we construct for ourselves into a million pieces. For we find that keeping those marriage vows is not as easy as we were told. And the church is not always a Christian place to be. And the people you believed you could trust let you down. And all that you had ever worked for and wanted to be can also blow up in your face. The day your world fell apart and you thought you were going to die because the place you thought was home - wasn't. And it seemed as if your faith was slipping away.An adult kind of relationship. Without it, I would submit, we become either sentimental or cynical. And then it becomes very, very difficult for us to be of support to others who are experiencing true adversity.
But by the grace of God, your life didn't end; and, looking back, it seemed like a new chapter began. God was turning your disaster into a new beginning. Jesus was asking you to get into the boat with him and sail off to the other side of the lake. It is times like those when faith stops being something firm and unshakable and becomes an adult kind of relationship.
Käsemann himself put it this way:
Had I no other faith to live by, I should yet live and believe with him, and one single beam of his light in our existence seems to me more important than the full sun of orthodoxy. For... what is decisive for all time is not how much we have believed, but that we have believed and followed him however little we understood about him.
"But that we have believed and followed..."
This is worthy of much reflection and contemplation. And I plan to engage in just that.