As with servanthood (see day 18) suffering is one of the (many!) areas of life in which we need to remember that we are not Jesus. Being called to be Christ-like, being called to model our own lives after the pattern of Jesus, involves acknowledging too the ways in which we are different from Jesus. We are not God. We are not the saviour, and a ‘saviour complex’ is if anything an impediment to living a life orientated towards Christ, because it denies the singularity of Jesus’ saving love.
It should be possible to acknowledge that there is something in some sense salvific in Jesus’ suffering (though quite what that is and how it works is open to debate) without suggesting that our own suffering is salvific. So much of the human suffering in the world – and the suffering of our other-than human neighbours, come to that – seems pointless. And romanticising suffering as something noble, heroic, or even Christ-like is a deeply damaging and dangerous thing to do. It is essential that we find ways to speak about Christ’s suffering in ways which do not impose suffering on others – or ourselves.
This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading ‘Music of Eternity: meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill’ by Robyn Wrigley-Carr. Join the conversation in the Facebook group, or by following the hashtag on Twitter.