April 6, 2012

At the foot of the cross

We have been there.  We know what is dumped and piled there, at the foot of the cross, seemingly foresaken.  We've heard about it, seen it, lived it.

There is the ruin of our lives.  Every abused child and loveless marriage.  Angry words.  Gnawing fear.  There are the broken promises and the faded dreams.  Lonely, sleepless nights.  Disappointment and disease.  Famine and poverty and war.  Greed and corruption.  School shootings and execution chambers.  Drug overdoses and abortions.  Hopelessness, helplessness, and despair.  Nameless, senseless death.

There are all the places where our live cease to make any sense.  Where meaning is gone and all that remains is emptiness.  There is nowhere to go from the cross but into the heart of the tomb, cold, sealed with a stone.

I know we know the ending, but there is an ending before the true ending, which is itself a new beginning. 

Gather courage and enter with me into the tomb.  Put off the glad rags and the sugar-coating.  See your sister and know that she carries within her a burden of pain.  Look upon your brother and acknowledge his wounds.  Look in the mirror.  See the truth of the hurts you have suffered and the hurts you have inflicted.  In all this, gaze on the cross.

I have had enough of tired religion that wants to skirt this truest truth.  The cross is a scandal and an abomination -- and nothing else would do.  God entered into the darkest darkness of our lives.  The cross is not an afterthought.  Jesus was never "plan B."  This was always the way, from all eternity.

I am finished with religion that wants to encourage me without first encountering my pain.  I have had it with spirituality that does not recognize the truth of a world wracked by sin.  The solution makes absolutely no sense apart from the problem.

I am naked, broken, bleeding, dying and so are you.  We and our world are in desperate need of a savior.

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