“It bears repeating: All love, all real, life-changing love, is substitutionary sacrifice. You have never loved a broken person, you have never loved a guilty person, you have never loved a hurting person except through substitutionary sacrifice…
…I read some years ago in National Geographic that after a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, some forest rangers began a trek up a mountain to survey the damage. One ranger found a bird of which nothing was left but the carbonized, petrified shell, covered in ashes, huddled at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by this eerie sight, the ranger knocked the bird over with a stick – and three tiny chicks scurried out from under their dead mother’s wings. When the blaze had arrived, the mother had remained steadfast instead of running. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings survived. And Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Luke 13:34). He did indeed gather Jerusalem’s children under his wings – and he was consumed. All real, life-changing love is costly, substitutionary sacrifice.”
[Tim Keller, King’s Cross, p168-169]
I stumbled across your blog and thought I would say hello. We met a couple of times when I was involved with the Scottish CE Advocates running some of the CE training courses up here in Scotland a few years back. I heard that you had gone to the States to study – how did that go? Are you working for CE again or on your own?
All the best in whatever is next for you. By the way, I really like the blog design, very fresh and polished, I need to refresh mine too…http://martynlink.wordpress.com/
Martyn, yes, I’m working with CE on various projects, although heading back to the States for a short while later in the year. Being at Trinity in Chicago was a real privilege – made some great friends and thoroughly enjoyed being a student again. Hope all’s well with you. Keep in touch!
Hi Barry… wonderful excerpt. One of my favorite parts in King’s Cross.
Isn’t it great, Ryan? I must get on and read Generous Justice too.
A great Gospel illustration, but I must point out that it’s invented.
Boooo. Next you’ll be ruining Christmas by saying there’s no Santa Claus, Zach 🙂
I know, I know. But I’m sure Tim Keller knows better than anyone the risks of preaching to a highly savvy audience, including having them fact-check your anecdotes on the internet!
Dr. Keller often employs illustrations of “nature, red in tooth and claw” in his apologetic approach, so maybe it’s also a little peculiar to see him tell a story which points in the opposite direction. Of course, that’s only so because it’s presented as a story from nature, rather than from another mind inspired by the truths of the Gospel.