Friday, April 22, 2011

The Resurrection of Our Lord Year A - conclusion

It seems odd blogging on Easter texts during the week we call Holy and the Friday we call Good. On the other hand our adoration of the cross assumes the empty tomb. After all a Jew named Jesus was not the only criminal who died at the hands of the Romans. He’s just the only one who didn’t stay dead. So when Paul names his one sermon “We preach Christ crucified” he is speaking about the nature of the death as much as the death itself. Jesus didn’t die in his sleep, or in a bar room brawl. It wasn’t the cancer that got him or a heart that failed or a stumble and a fall that broke his neck. He was the innocent victim of a cruel method of torture employed by a repressive regime to keep the peace in a land prone to violent insurgence.  That’s the secular story of course. But the sacred story is not as far removed as one might think. I know we prefer a personal Jesus, going so far as to imagine that when He died I was on his mind. That’s all well and good as long as you understand that the “I” on his mind was bigger than you. So the punishment befits the crime and by that I mean all the ways that from the moment Cain killed Abel human beings have lived the “I” in ways that kill the “you”. He redeems not by appeasing a far off Father unable to look on sin but by dying a death that should shame all of humanity into crying out God forgive us. Not just for Jesus but for all the human lives wasted and ignored, brutally ended or starved into submission. And since he makes exception even for those who actually did the deed, “Father forgive them” Jesus dies for the “you” who rightly deserve hell and truth is have lived there all along. The surprise of the resurrection is in the unexpected cross. God dying instead of destroying so that in his rising the I and the you of all humanity might finally become us, which is to say, children of God.

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