Have you heard this riddle before?
They have not flesh nor feathers, nor scales nor bone; but they do have fingers and thumbs of their own.
How about this one?
This household object used to be alive but now is dead but can come alive again.
Answer? A glove. A leather glove for the second one (though leather doesn’t work with the first riddle). A leather glove used to be a cow, and it “comes alive” when a hand is placed inside it. Some of us who work together only have to think back to last year’s chapel theme and a friend’s use of this same glove image.
I grew up singing a song based pretty much word-for-word on verses 19-20. Maybe you did too. I love scripture songs. They plant God’s word in my heart. At the same time, they pose a problem for me, as I discovered again today. I find a song more easily divests the words of their meaning and I forget what the passage is about. I guess the passage just becomes too familiar.
So I enjoyed reading Wright’s rendering of 2:19b-20 because he made these words fresh again with meaning.
I have been crucified with the Messiah. I am, however, alive — but it isn’t me any longer; it’s the Messiah who lives in me. And the life I do still live in the flesh, I live within the faithfulness of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I go back to the image of the leather glove. I am dead, crucified. This isn’t my life, or at least it is not supposed to be. So whatever life one does see in me is really the life of Jesus who is in me. My strength is not in my own power to do good (what so much of the latter half of chapter 2 is about). My life doesn’t even rest in my own faith, rather I have my assurance because of the faithfulness of Jesus (a major theme in Wright’s theology).
Oh, to be more glove-like!