I had the thrilling experience tonight of hearing Marcus Borg speak at the National Cathedral about his new book The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem.
I say the experience was thrilling because there is something about Marcus Borg and the way he thinks that makes me want to love Jesus more.
There’s that, and then there’s the fact that I am undisputedly a church nerd of the highest order and this causes me to regard short, gray-haired and balding theologians with the same sort of adulation that my daughter regards Hillary Duff. (See the resemblance? I’d be willing to guess this is the first time ever that Marcus Borg has been compared to Hillary Duff).
Borg is a very prolific theologian and has produced some excellent, thought provoking books like The Heart of Christianity, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Meaning of Jesus and others. He speaks with lofty theological ideas but they seem to come from his heart.
But after the lecture tonight my group was trying to decide what it was about Marcus Borg that spoke to us. I think we decided it had something to do with the communication of a genuine faith exploration . . . the yearning that Marcus Borg expresses to know Jesus. As the priest who introduced him said, Marcus Borg’s wife says this about Borg: “He has been searching for Jesus his whole life.”
Yes, as I listened to the presentation of his scholarly study my mind kept drifting back to the prayer of Augustine that Borg offered at the beginning of his lecture: “God, from whom to turn is to fall; to whom to turn is to rise; in whom to abide is to stand: God, from whom to go out is to waste away; unto whom to return is to revive; in whom to dwell is to live . . . .”
And throughout the whole lecture I kept thinking . . . no matter where this strange man Jesus leads us . . . even all the way to the cross . . . that a heart that longs for God is a heart that finds a place to rest.