Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hope for Good Friday

Christianity is an extraordinary religion; now let me qualify that statement. I have studied many religions, both modern and ancient, and yet I have never come across another religion which teaches that God became man, suffered, and died for humanity. I know plenty of religions in which god(s) demand animal sacrifices of us, religions in which deities rape humans and unleash wrath upon their foes. But I know of only one religion which teaches that God became man, and died for us.
That central mystery of Christianity, the Cross, should be at the center of our teaching, at the center of our being. We ought to live with the Gospel as the center of our lives. No other message is as important. Seven steps to a better life, the power of prayer, social justice, fire and brimstone; these are not the messages of Christianity. Christianity has one message and that message is Christ crucified.
The entire history of humanity -it's creation, fall into sin, struggles, and salvation- pivots upon the Cross, upon the very Son of God suffering and dying for us. Our's was the sin that was atoned for upon that bitter tree. Our screw ups, our failures, our self centeredness and our tendency to turn ourselves into gods is what Christ atoned for. He the spotless lamb of God bore the full wrath of God's judgement so that we do not have to.
We are a people under the Cross. In baptism we are sealed with the sign of the cross on our foreheads, in our worship spaces the cross hangs(or stands) centrally, in our homes we hang crosses, and many wear crosses as constant reminders. Too often we allow these daily symbols to become common, and we forget the unbelievable message that they represent, the wonderful news which is the Gospel. May this Good Friday be filled with meditation upon the cross and renewed wonder for God's infinite love, and may we carry the message of this day, the message of the Cross, to all we meet. For there is no news more important, then that Christ suffered and died for you. Amen

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