Deacon’s Message (April 2017)
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Cor 1:18
Grace and peace to you!
It is rather ironic that the main symbol of the Christian faith – the cross – is also a symbol of humiliation, violence, suffering, and death.
And, yet, it is through the cross that we come to understand that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was sent into the world to fully share in our humanity and to lead us back into a right relationship with God. Through the cross, we experience Jesus’ own vulnerability and brokenness; we see his own body given for the sake of the world. Through the cross, we see good overcoming evil; life conquering death; freedom given to those who believe. Through the cross, we come to realize that God is present with us even – especially – in the midst of our deepest suffering and death. At those moments when we are most weak and vulnerable and broken, God comes to us, revealing God’s glory with love and compassion.
Martin Luther called this paradox of God bringing life from death through an act of torture the ‘theology of the cross’. It implies God works in hidden ways and in unexpected places; God’s grace and love come when least expected.
Many may view it as foolishness – the idea that an all-powerful God suffered and died on a cross in solidarity with God’s people, as the way of expressing love and forgiveness and hope. Many may think that God’s power is revealed most fully in the wealth and prosperity and prestige that can come from living in an affluent society. Many might like to skip the cross and head straight for the resurrection.
Do not be fooled. Jesus was drawn to vulnerable people on the margins of society – women, people with disabilities, children, foreigners, outcasts. They were among the first to recognize him as the Messiah. So, it continues to be today. God continues to work among God’s people in a similar way – bringing healing and hope to the meek and lowly through grace alone.
As we approach Holy Week, I encourage you to walk gently and intentionally toward the cross. Linger during The Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday and ponder the hidden mystery that suffering and death lead to life everlasting. Then, rise and rejoice in the new life that you have been given through the cross.
to God be the glory!