A Theological Alphabet - A

I'm beginning a theological alphabet. Some brief ruminations on some important theological realities. Help me by adding your own. I've listed three words (two German, one English) under "A."

Anfectung – Luther’s wrenching daily experience of Satan’s unbridled, vicious assault on him. At times, it seemed as if the whole world was against him, as well as the flesh and the devil. It was prayer that sustained him: “We know that our defense lies in prayer. We are too weak to resist the devil and his vassals. Let us hold fast to the weapons of the Christian; they enable us to combat the devil… our enemies may mock at us. But we shall oppose both men and the devil if we maintain ourselves in prayer and if we persist in it.” (Larger Catechism)

Auferstehung – German for “resurrection.” Thomas Torrance relates the Barth once ended a conversation they had about Jesus’ resurrection saying, “Wohl verstanden, leibliche Auferstehung!” – “Mark well, bodily resurrection!” Nothing more important than this, no Christianity without it.

Awe – A bit more than the “wonder” that drives philosophy; this more derives from magnificent presence we encounter in theology, a personal presence to whom we owe existence, allegiance, and love. Kenneth Grahame captures this beautifully in his wonderful children’s story The Wind and the Willows:
'This is the place of my song- dream, the place the music played to me,' whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. 'Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!'
Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror, indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy, but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird- haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew . . . 'Rat!' he found breath to whisper, shaking. 'Are you afraid?'
'Afraid?' murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. 'Afraid! Of him? O, never, never! And yet, and yet, O, Mole, I am afraid!'
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.


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