My favorite week in the liturgical calendar. While the world around is focusing on hopping bunnies and brightly colored sweets (which is happening in my house, too), at church we are dealing with the raw, unbridled passion of God.
And no, I am not talking about suffering for sufferings sake. Nor am I a believer in the form of blood atonement that makes Christ the recipient of God the Father’s child abuse. Nor does this week somehow diminish all the pain that surrounds us in this world – the suffering of the hungry, the poor, the grieving, the dying, the oppressed, the abused, the lost, the forgotten, and all the other children of God that Christ consistently spent his life on earth lifting up.
On the contrary, it is the very power of God’s unconstrained and extravagant Love on display that brings everything else into focus.
How can we not listen to the silenced, especially those who have had their voices ripped away from them, as we hear leather whips rend flesh? How can we not open our eyes to the broken systems of our world when we see our Lord judged a common criminal and brutally murdered for calling out the systems of his day? How can we not hear the cries of the hungry and thirsty in our midst who are often given scraps and looked down upon when our Lord was given vinegar to drink? How can our hearts not break within us for all those forced apart, those intentionally forgotten, those deliberately lost by the community when we see all but a few of his closest friends flee in fear?
And yet, knowing all of it, Christ, our God, still chose to stretch out his arms. To show what true Love really looks like. To put on display for all the world to see – how far Love will go. To the cross. To the curse. To Hell.
There is such beauty in that Love. In our Crucified God.
Even when it forces us to see all the work we have yet to do, that Love will never… ever… ever let us go.
That is the power of the cross.