So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them…Jesus said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The Passion according to John Chapters 18 & 19
The Word made flesh. Grace and hope made flesh. As his human body succumbed to death, his heart overflowed with love and forgiveness; for those who nailed him to the cross and for all of us who have ever doubted, ever wandered. And for those who ever felt that this crucifixion, this death was just an event that happened long ago…that it has nothing to do with us, really.
His heart overflowed with love for you…Not some perfect image of you; not the one you keep polished and on display…but the real you. The you who struggles to breathe, sometimes, through the loneliness, insecurity, the pain, the fear, doubt, worry, the grief…the realities. He loves you…Not with a distant, generic sort of love for humanity as a whole, although he does indeed love the world. God interacts with us in an intimate relationship; not only does he know everything about us, he is interested! God loves us personally, and unconditionally, as no human being can….forever.
Today, in the shadow of the cross, we listen to the sacred story and are confronted with a question. Do I believe? Do I believe the teaching about God, that God is good? That the prayer for God’s Kingdom here ‘on earth as in heaven’ is worth praying? Do I understand that God’s Spirit guides me, restores and heals, challenges and consoles…that God’s promise of eternal life is more than ‘wishful thinking’? Does God care for and love me, as self-centred, sinful and as messed up as I am?
The answer does not rest with an intellectual response because faith is not just about brilliant intellect or knowledge. If faith was all about our intellect, if love was only about intellect, we would be doomed…and alone…but it is not. The holy adventure that is the journey of faith, of living and maturing, thriving and striving as a disciple of Christ is about opening ourselves, our hearts, trusting our lives, to the love and pure gift of grace that God gives through his beloved Son. For it is, simply, offered there, upon the Cross, for us.
Listen, carefully to the sacred story, within your soul. Is that your own heartbeat…is it God’s whisper…is it an angelic choir…is it the echo of resurrection?