April 2, 2010
What is this cross that bears the body of our Lord,
a body bloodied, beaten, bruised, and broken?
What is this cross that carries within it such terror –
torture, death, and destruction?
This cross is a meeting ground,
a place of encounter,
an intimate intersection of the human and the divine.
It is here at this cross where we see God most clearly,
and indeed, where we see ourselves most honestly, as well.
The cross is a window to our God, and a mirror to ourselves.
We see in the cross our Lord, God in flesh and blood,
come to us in utterly unglorious suffering, pain, and death,
in the gallows of human existence.
We see in the cross ourselves, we see the isolation, the brokenness, the pain, the death,
of our own selves, of our church, of our community, of our world.
We see in the cross the complete desolation wrought by sin,
the holocaust of human betrayal, the darkness of humanity’s true nature.
We see in the cross all that which tears down and destroys God’s creation,
all that which works against the movement of God’s Spirit,
all that which rejects the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We see in the cross the pain and anxiety and shortcomings of ourselves and our world –
hunger and abuse,
poverty and loss,
war and violence,
corruption and inequality,
complacency and complete disregard for neighbor,
immorality and selfish indulgence,
indifference to God’s word and will for the world.
And Jesus hangs there.
It is this forsaken place where Jesus chooses to show up,
to show us who he is and whose he is.
If there is any promise and Good News to find on this Good Friday, this is it:
Jesus comes into the world not to take away our suffering, not to eradicate evil –
that will come, he promises, in the fulfillment of his Kingdom –
but in this interim time, between his incarnation and before his promised return,
in this interim time he is found in our suffering and in the suffering of the world.
The evil of the cross assures us that the evil of our day and age
does not represent the absence of God,
but indeed, directs us to the presence of God,
a God who is beaten and abused with those who are beaten and abused this day;
a God who suffers and dies with those who suffer and die this day;
a God who is laid to rest with those who are laid to rest this day.
What is this cross? It is the presence of God in a world of suffering.