God Is Shouting

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

Flannery O'Connor wrote short stories filled with grotesque characters and violent plots in order to highlight what was distorted and needed forgiving in human life. Her writing was designed to shock, as she admitted, saying, "When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal ways of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock—to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures."
            Though the life of Christ is anything but grotesque, it is shocking in many ways. That God would reduce himself to human stature, entering his own creation as an infant cradled in the arms of Jewish peasants, barely able to protect him from a king who tried to murder him. That he would live a simple life as a carpenter and then as a wandering sage. That he would allow himself to be arrested, disgraced, and nailed to a Roman cross like the most wicked of outcasts. That after three days his grave would be empty. Surely, in all of this, God was shouting to a deaf world, drawing a large and startling figure so that the spiritually blind could see.
            Who do you know that seems spiritually dull and hard of hearing? Who in your life seems resistant to the gospel? Take a moment now to pray for them. Ask God to open their ears so that they can perceive what the Father is saying through his Son, Jesus Christ.

 
Originally published February 21, 2011.

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