If ...

Saturday, 11 April 2009

... you look at the cross, and it leaves you feeling strangely creeped or strangely unmoved, then there is more to see than first thought (and first taught).

If you look at it, walking around and looking at it from another angle, with fear and trembling, over the years, and it dawns slowly the ways it applies to you, and you can see beauty - not so much in the horror of what was done there as in the heart and mind and reasoning of the man who hung there - and that you feel how this, combined with what happened three days later in the Resurrection, applies to you and your messed-upedness, and speaks to you on 18th July and the 2nd October and the 6th February in your normal everyday life, then you feel like you're getting closer at that mystery.

The cross is healing to me now, in the same way that the serpent held up in the wilderness was healing. It reminds me, again and again, because I need reminding again and again, that God will meet me where I am. Even if I am sitting in my own stuff and moping and dwelling and naval gazing. He is still there in the midst of all of that, still loving me. Patiently. Even if what she prefers for me is something utterly different. If I am bringing all I have to the table that day, and it is shitty, then that is just how it is. It is what she does. It is always what she has done but now the way has been cleared for me to see it. If God will die for me, to prove some points, to unveil hooded eyes, to heal hooded hearts, is there anything he won't do?

Been listening to The God Journey, which has stirred up all these thoughts. They are close to my heart admittedly because I passionately hate the stink and stain of our conceptions of a wrathful * God, and the damage done instead of a curative God. It created distance in my heart between me and him. If I see Christ hanging on the cross and it makes me hang my head and redouble my efforts to try to be a better person, then I have missed the point of what was accomplished there. My fear and shame stop me from seeing any further. If I believe God will turn his face away from the majority of people who are not written in his big fat book of life because he is unable to redeem his creation, then I will not see any further from that, because the god is unable to be trusted. I don't know how a belief in that sort of god would promote anything but fear and shame, even while you're saying, "Wow, that Jesus dude, good guy." Even while you're slapping yourself on the back for being part of the winning team. The good Jesus saved you from the bad god. But you're not gonna go around crowing about that sort of good news, are you? Where is the good news in the fact that god is a petulant bastard, Jesus or no? Where is the good news in the fact that the kingdom of heaven is near when there is only a select group of rich white Westerners on the whole who shall enjoy its fruits?

It was us who ran from God in the gardenic story, not the other way round. It was us who God saved through the cross, not his own honour and justice. God does not need to uphold his own integrity. There is nothing in him to cause him to stumble into an identity disorder :)

There was always treasure hidden in the field of Christendom, amongst its doctrines that brought death and no life, conformance but no comfort, adherence but no healing. What joys me is how many of us within those walls have begun walking towards that higher calling. It is a particularly brave thing to do when you cannot see a step in front of your eyes. The kingdom of heaven is near. Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not fear. The phrase most often spoken of by Christ in the New Testament. The Christ that now lives in the grave in this point of our collective ritual of Easter. A boggling thought.

There are so many of us out in blogland who have redefined our faiths, who have shed, with fear and trembling, things that were told to us that if we shed we would surely die, that our faith would be cast off, that we would go astray and lose it all and be damned forever. Such a time of confusion in the faith for so many people. My hope is that while we have used this blogging medium to question and ponder and do so in relative safety without being heckled and abused by our fellow believers, that now we can share what heights and the depths and the width and the breadth of the life that he is calling us into, none of us knowing quite how or when or what. But look how far we have come :)

But we can't walk too far into this life without the knowledge taking root in our hearts that God is good and kind and able to be trusted. And that Christ died on the cross not to appease the evil heart of that god but because our own needed cleansing. And how far the seeing us when we allow him/her to show to us, in our own personal ways and however long it takes, what that means and how we are loved. We must allow God to do that in us.

The cross makes us able to stand where we are right now in the journey with some security, in our realities and our evils and look at them because we can let go of our guilt. Combine that with the hope of future resurrection and then suddenly you begin to see the potential for a life that has all its ends kicked out, and freedom shining, and hope in the midst of the decay.

But that's tomorrow's story ... :)

And this is just how I am seeing it. I hope I don't sound too much like I'm thus-sayeth-the-Lording :) I am just inspired by this view. I'm just not good at succinct explanation :)

* Did you know the word wrath, as translated from both the Greek and the Hebrew, is able to be translated zeal, or violent passion? Makes a bit of a difference, doesn't it? Something a bit closer approaching what God is about, methinks :)


  1. Re your last paragraph, I do wonder how much of what we have absorbed over the years (by we I mean us collectively as Christians) is partly to do with "Lost in Translation".

    I, too, have had difficulty always with this wrathful capricious God. The only thing I disagree with in what you have written here is that I think the cross should make us hang our heads and redouble our efforts to be better. Not because we're afraid, but because it's the right thing to do, and because "being better" is really being more loving, which matches and meets the love of the man on the cross (and his "Dad"!).

  2. Sue...that's the most beautiful/lovely expression of what this is about that I have read this Easter Season.

    Peace and rest my friend.

  3. Great post Sue ..
    Some of us are still running from God - if we would turn around and look - see Him there? with outstretched arms?


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