Two thoughts from E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View …
… one a profound comment by the narrrator:
The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul.
… and one, spoken by Lucy, a little disturbing:
He seems to see the good in everyone. No one would take him for a clergyman.
Here’s another insightful quote from John Swinton’s Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil:
Sin, evil, and suffering … are secondary realities, intruders into the goodness of the world. As such they require, indeed demand, to be resisted in faith and hope rather than resigned to with stoicism and despair. Goodness is our original state …. The turn towards evil drags us into a state that is alien to the desired purposes of the creator. The presence of evil separates us not only from God, but also from our true selves. As such it needs to be strongly resisted. Resistance relates to the faithful participation in Christ’s redemptive movement in the world now and in the future. Evil is that which blocks and fragments Christ’s work of reclamation, restoration, and redemption and prevents human beings from experiencing the loving presence of God in and for the world.
Who better to quote on Good Friday than Martin Luther King?
Man has never risen above the injunction of the lex talionis …. Jesus … knew that the old eye-for-eye philosophy would leave everyone blind. He did not seek to overcome evil with evil. He overcame evil with good. Although crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love. … Calvary will be a nagging reminder that only goodness can drive out evil and only love can conquer hate.
From Strength to Love
Love for beauty; care for the material life that gives pleasure and joy; appreciation for the numinous world, revealed by the Spirit in life; and embrace of the eros that empowers human beings as social creatures to seek others – these are spiritual powers that deliver salvation.
We reenter this world as sacred space when we love life fiercely, and, in the name of love, protect the goodness of our intricate web of life in all its manifold forms. We recommit ourselves to this world as holy ground when we remember the fullness of life that is possible through our communities, our life-affirming rituals, and our love of beauty, of truth, of goodness.
Rita Nakashima Brock, ‘Paradise and Desire: Deconstructing the Eros of Suffering’, in F. LeRon Shults and Jan-Olav Henriksen (eds), Saving Desire: The Seduction of Christian Theology