For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -1 Corinthians 1:18
During this Lenten season, we are turning our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to the cross of Jesus Christ. We would probably rather turn our eyes to the resurrection, to Easter, and its bright flowers and bonnets, its happy eggs and yummy feasts. The cross can seem like such a downer, an inconvenience to have to acknowledge, and a dour obstacle to getting on with the joy. So it is a discipline to remember the cross. We remember the execution of Jesus. We remember that he was tortured, nailed to a cross, and left to die of asphyxiation. Yes, we know how the story turns out, that he is raised from the dead, that there is life beyond gruesome Good Friday. But a rush to get to the good news is like telling a person not to grieve the death of their child because “she’s in a better place.” Of course well-meaning people do this all the time. But that doesn’t mean we should!
We need room in our souls for lament, for grieving. To let the horrific news stories hit you. To see suffering when we would normally look away. Because at the heart of our Christian faith is the shocking news that God Almighty hung on a tree, too. That God Almighty suffered violence, too. That God Almighty took the brunt of the sin in our world, too. God did this not just to give us a happy ending, but so that when our happy endings are so very far away, we can know God is with us then too.
So keep turning your eyes to the cross, and I will try to do the same. Let us behold together our God who suffers and dies, and who rises and conquers. Let us draw upon such risk-taking, generous love for our own to give away in every place of suffering and joy.