Saturday, September 13, 2008

Paul's Reflections TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS

14th September, 2008     


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The cross of Jesus Christ is not a sign that a ‘bloodthirsty God’  has no other way of forgiving sins than by demanding that humans pay for their sins with physical punishment, by forfeiting their lives…..  by dying……   The Cross, in not really about humans paying for their collective sin by satisfying a hard-to-please God by offering up an innocent representative ….  although that certainly in the human way of thinking…..   /  Jesus certainly was seen and described as the Passover lamb, innocent and spotless….   sacrificed to atone for the sins of others….  but what I mean here is….     I don’t believe GOD demanded this be so, but that humans demand that this be so……. and God knew that was the way we humans think and met us where we were…..   out of love… out of a desire to save us…..   //


The Cross, then, is really a sign of God’s fiahtfulness and closeness to us through the most difficult times of life….   through the best and worst of what the world offers…..  //   We are told by the Gospel….   Jesus came into the world and died on the cross not to condemn….  but that we might all be saved…….  


God looked deep into the human heart….  and sees in us humans a seemingly constant need that we pay for our mistakes with retribution……  (often violent retribution)……   that one person wins….  by others losing……   


God, in Jesus, became the scapegoat for the worst of what humanity can throw at each other……     Jesus became a thing of horror on the cross….  so that everyone and anyone can throw… can project all that is wrong and bad about the world…  or about the complexities of their lives and circumstances….  and project it all at this figure on the cross…..  who will disempower it….   defeat it….. nuetralise it……    thus putting an end to violence as a solution to everything….


The triumph of the Cross of Christ is God’s ultimate word to humans -   NOW, will you STOP killing yourselves…..   Now will you stop hurting eachother…..      as the price for wrongs suffered…. //    let me bear this in myself….    let me bear the world’s insane need for everything wrong done…..   so that you won’t keep doing this to yourselves…  to each other…..       so you won’t keep thinking that God is demanding blood for sins committed……  




we should never underestimate the human ability to withhold forgiveness…..  to demand incredible price for wrongdoing……  and even then leave people no hope for moving beyond the hurt… the wrong……    the cross can be a powerful sign that there is an infinitely stronger solution to the wrongs in the world than mere eye-for-an-eye….. which leads to an endless cycle of retribution and counter-retribution…..    


This weekend’s feast of the Triumph of the cross…  is also a wonderful statement that unmasks many false concepts of what true POWER is really like….. 


the cross says that power is NOT really any of the following things..


true power is not about domination…  but about love… about freedom and persuasion…


true power is being able to forgive… rather than becoming a slave to the necessity of striking back…..   


true power is not about controlling… or standing over others…….  but about walking together as one… 


true power, in the cross, is revealed in love willing to suffer to others…  to serve to put others first….


so, on a weekend celebrating the triumph of the cross… it is good to also name some of the false concepts of power the abuses of power that do so much harm in life… and which the cross of Christ stands in opposition to….


this weekend….   is child safety awareness weekend… and there are information brochures at the entrances of the church that share the some thoughts on making our communities (church and wider communities) the most safe they could be……    of opposing any form of abuse of authority, power or responsibility, so that those most needy and vulnerable might be protected…. 


true power is shown in protection of the rights and needs of those most vulnerable…..  it is in ensuring that individuals and groups do not silence the voice of those less vocal or less advantaged than others….     true power is being able to provide for the needs of others…. and to protect and respect those needs and rights of every human being… to live peacefully and free from threat or demand… 


Jesus believed so completely in the needs and protection of everyone… even those most on the margins…. and put his whole life on the line to ensure it…..      this power is stronger than all others….   and we celebrate the love and care of God revealed in this most contradictory sign …    of victory and love….    in the cross..

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