Friday, March 25, 2016

Cruciform Faith

I'm not sure that you, dear readers, will be inclined to ponder this blog on Good Friday, but here I am. Last Sunday --Palm/Passion Sunday -- I chose to preach about the cross and crucifixion because we don't all that often. at least not in liberal Protestant churches. And folk tend to avoid Good Friday services in droves, so even this opportunity is minimized.

We Christians recognize that our faith differs from others in that God is incarnate, human, in the person of Jesus. The teaching, the preaching, the healing of Jesus' ministry all matter for us. We also recognize that while the gospels offer all this, they aren't biographies. The central message and the greatest amount of "coverage' in the gospels is given to the final days of Jesus' life and ministry. His crucifixion is both a scandal and the power of God's radical identification with us, setting us free from sin and sorrow.

I am reminded that the darkness of a fallen world besets us daily. The tragic attacks in Brussels on Tuesday show us how evil the hearts of individuals and groups can be. Terrorist acts are carried out for reasons that are really not reasons and the innocent perish. A number of writers have pointed out that this happens daily around the world but we are captivated by Brussels because these are people who share many of our cultural norms.

While the cross is a Christian symbol we sense that this in-the-flesh love for humanity is indispensable in comprehending the sadness and evil of our world and the possibility of redemption. The particularity and scandal of the cross will always involve mystery, yet we look to Jesus, the Crucified One for light in the darkness. Our faith is cruciform.


Frank said...

Our book club just recently read "All the Light We Cannot See". As part of that discussion we examined the issue of human evil in various forms. In this story, the actions of a German intelligence unit and their personnel was part of the story; some quite violent, and some quite human.
As part of that discussion, we also examined from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his The Gulag Archipelago:
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" Elsewhere, he also says that it is the role of religion to move the dividing line so as to enlarge the good and diminish the evil.
Maybe that's one takeaway for this years' Holy Week reflection after Brussels.

Judy said...

I like that concept of removing the dividing line so that the good is enlarged and the evil is diminished.... makes more sense to me.