Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adolphe Monod on the Cross and Resurrection

If you are like me, right now you are asking, "Adolphe who?"  Adolphe Monod (1802-1856) was a French evangelical Protestant pastor and theology professor.  While only in his fifties, he developed terminal liver cancer.

When too ill to continue pulpit ministry any longer, so ill in fact that he was confined to his bed, he gathered a widely varied interdenominational group of pastors who celebrated the Lord's Supper together weekly and listened to Monod's thoughts on whatever filled his meditations at the time.  After his death, his hearers compiled their notes and published them as Adolphe Monod's Farewell to His Friends and the Church.*

Constance Walker, the translator of the most recent English version, says of these gatherings, ". . .the ministry that he had from his sick-bed during the last six months of his illness, the ministry of Les Adieux, has perhaps had a greater effect on the evangelical church than all of his earlier labors.  It was not the ministry he would have chosen, yet because it came to him directly from the hand of God, he accepted it as the more important ministry that it turned out to be."

One passage from the Farewell strikes me as particularly appropriate to this Easter season as we consider how to live the Resurrection every day:
It is sweet to contemplate to-day, in the sufferings of our Saviour, the view they exhibit of the great, the incomprehensible depths of the mercy of God.  Oh, my friends, let us always have this love present to our mind; it will explain everything, even the most cruel sufferings, since they are only the consequence of what He suffered for us.  At the same time, it will make everything smooth and easy [and this, remember, spoken by a man enduring late-stage liver cancer]. Faith renders everything possible; love makes everything easy: 'His commandments are not grievous.'  Full of this image of the Saviour's love, and of the love of God revealed in the Saviour, reading in His paternal heart the love of God for us, we shall give ourselves up entirely to the Lord, to do and to suffer all He shall see fit to send us.  Pray that we may be deeply impressed with this sentiment, 'God is love;' and to this end let us abide patiently at the foot of the Saviour's cross, and never lose sight of it, till--after we have suffered a little, seeing that it is needful--He will take us by the hand, and leading us over the interval that separates Friday from Sunday morning, will raise us with Himself, and establish us with Himself, in the abode of glory where He is waiting for us, and where we shall praise Him the more that we shall have suffered more, and especially if we have suffered for His name. Amen (64-65).
Friends, if this finds you living in that Saturday interval, may the Lord Himself give you comfort and strength to hope for that great Day of which Monod spoke.  He already has you by the hand; the time is short.  Let us not lose sight of His cross while we wait.  The Messiah who died for love of us has given us His word that it will be worth it all.
So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4, HCSB).
*English translation of the original French title

If you would like to read Monod's Farewell along with me, here are a few links:
~the free Google eBook of the older translation (this is the one I'm reading on my Kindle)
~the free Android version of the older translation
~Living in the Hope of Glory: A New Translation of a Spiritual Classic
~more of Monod's books, including the French edition of the Farewell

Many thanks to my sister Deanna for recommending this book!


  1. I find this very encouraging. I read it yesterday, but wanted to give a meaty comment to match the meaty content. Don't know if that will happen, but I'm glad it brought me back to read it a second time. Thanks:)

  2. @Amy Yes, Monod is not exactly a jet lag read, at least in the older translation I'm using. I'm thankful your interest was piqued anyway.

    This book has the content of a real classic; I'm not sure why it's so little known, at least in my community.

    Glad you liked the selection! Praying transition grace for you this week.

  3. oh, learning from this wise man... to keep his love present, explaining everything... beautiful words, thank you.

  4. @pathoftreasure You're welcome! His words are full of wisdom. I just finished the rest of the book today. Highly recommended.

    God bless your weekend, worship, Mother's Day. . . whatever it holds.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.