What is this Cross? (Good Friday)

Good Friday
John 18:1-19:42
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.

About Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.
This entry was posted in Good Friday, Lent, Sermons, Year C. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is this Cross? (Good Friday)

  1. Will Matson says:

    A brutal, beautiful presentation of the brutally horrific,yet most beautiful cross of Christ. He suffers with us. It is only missing the Gospel, that Jesus Christ, God’s Son came to atone, to pay for the sins of the world. John 3:13-17 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven,but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” This is what makes the Cross, though so brutal, the thing of the highest beauty and purest love ever known throughout all eternity. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8” Your prose was beautiful, yet not nearly as beautiful as it could have been. Of what use is a God Who comes down and suffers with us if in the end we are left do die in our sins, bearing our guilt to the grave? Surely this is only part of your sermon that you have fed us? Surely you intend to tell us of the Son of God, Who though purer than the lilies, yet He condescended to “be made sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ?” That death died in Him, when He entered death, for all who trust in Him? That He rose again the third day, triumphant over sin, death and the devil? That we too, who trust in Him shall rise triumphant in His triumph and live and reign with Him forever and ever, Amen!!! Hallelujah!!! Praise His Holy Name!!!

  2. Ravi says:

    Hi Ken,What does it mean to live by faith? Do we faithfully wait for God to act? Do we take acotin, trying to act in faithful obedience to His commands? How do we recognize God’s hand at work?How do I get rid of my sinful habits and grow to become more like Jesus? Do I let go and let God take over my life? Do I struggle against sin? Do I practice disciplines to grow? Could I expect to be like Jesus in this lifetime?How does our society portray love, and what does the Bible say about love?Why is God invisible?Why does the Bible say that sin results in death? What is death, and why does anyone have to die for what I have done, let alone Jesus? Why doesn’t God just forgive us? Why all this talk of death?It seems like we’re all very busy with life but have no idea of where humankind is headed. Is there an end goal?Do we have corporate responsibility before God? As a local church? As a nation? Or are we only responsible for our individual acotins?Yours,Keane

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