Friday, March 25, 2016

The Mystery Of The Cross: Good Friday Reading - Jeff Wiersma

"The cross is a paradox – a mystery. Why would a symbol of execution – a cross of all things – be the chief symbol of Christianity?" - Frederick Buecher 

Have you ever wondered why a tool of execution – a cross of all things – would be the chief symbol of Christianity? The cross is a strange symbol for the church to use when you stop and think about it.

A cross?!? It might as well be a gallows or an electric chair, right?

 And Good Friday … the day that Jesus was killed on a cross; if you’re like me, you’ve wondered what exactly is good about that?!?

The mystery of the cross and what’s “good” about Good Friday are both part of the greater mystery of God the Trinity; who is 3 persons in one being - Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit - living in selfless relationship - whose very essence is love.

To make that same kind of close, loving relationship possible between the divine and us, this God chooses to become human. God becomes a vulnerable child - completely dependent on human care - to begin the work of removing the distance between humanity and the divine.

That vulnerable child grew into the Jesus that was nailed to the cross. On that cross, God often looks unrecognizable to us - because we’re so used to thinking of God as all-powerful. But there’s Jesus nailed to the cross; overpowered, humiliated and suffering unbearable pain.

But here’s the twist; the cross is actually the instance where God is most fully revealed - since God’s very nature is selfless, giving love. In being crucified, Jesus brings the realities of suffering, pain, rejection and humiliation back into the life that is God the Trinity - completing the work of removing the distance between God and humanity.

This is why the cross - that brutal tool of execution - also gives us a reason for eternal hope. It shows us the life-giving, selfless love of a God that chooses to suffer alongside with - and out of care for - creation. It’s another example of God’s willingness to be vulnerable so that we can have genuine relationship.

As well all know, real, healthy relationship can’t exist without vulnerability. We’ve all seen examples of this in healthy marriages, families or friendships. It’s only works when we are willing to be open and accommodating with each other. That’s the posture God took in this mission to restore relationship with us; being willing to risk being hurt and rejected – even going as far as death!

What wondrous love.