Hello beautiful beings! I hope you’re having a fabulous day. While I was out for a run and listening to a podcast the other day, in a sermon I heard Greg Boyd say: Everything you need to know about life, others, yourself, and God is revealed by Jesus on the cross. This rang True to me, and it turns out it’s been a “thing” for quite some time, as the medieval mystics said, Crux probat omnia—“The cross legitimates/proves/uses everything.” Even though I’ve been a Christian my whole life, this was a real “aha” moment for me, so I’m stoked to share with you five ways I find this such a beautiful and enlivening Truth for everyone!
By the way, the pic of me above was my attempt to show both of my forearm tats with crosses on them at the same time, so you’d know I “have skin in the ‘game.’” 🙂
1) You are loved & valued more than you can imagine.
I believe Jesus dying on the cross for us is, above all, a sign of how much God loves and values every person ever. The Divine adores you, others, and me SO much, our Creator is willing to go to ANY lengths to have an intimate, face-to-face relationship with us … even death!
For whatever reason, us humans think we have to win approval, achieve success, hustle, grind, and make a name for ourselves. We’ve bought into what I’m convinced is a lie, that our doings define us. As I read and understand this (i.e. this is my opinion, and you’re welcome to disagree) the religious sacrificial system, wherein we give and/or kill things to gain the favor and “love” of God, comes from this misperception. Our Heavenly Parent, being incredibly humble, Loves us deeply enough to meet us where we’re at and satisfy our “need” to give to get by letting us sacrifice and kill Jesus (aka God) to get to God. I’d like to have “said” that better, but hopefully you get the point.
On the cross, Jesus reveals God will do anything to be in relationship with us, because you are beloved by the Divine and more precious in the Spirit’s eyes than words can express.
2) Life is NOT fair … Yet, God is WITH us in it … AND the Divine specializes at transforming terrible into terrific.
Being crucified was one of the most painful and horrible ways to be executed ever invented. Yet, Jesus, the most incredible, caring, and Loving of humans, was tortured and killed on a cross. Life is simply not fair. Cancer, mass shootings, collateral damage, rape, and MUCH more take and/or harm the lives of countless people who do NOT deserve their fate.
God, though, entered directly into the unfairness of the human experience, lived through the worst of it, and blesses us amidst the ups and downs with the unwavering presence of the Spirit. In the Bible it’s said on the cross the Divine reconciled ALL beings to God’s self. Do you think it’s fair to say killing God is a pretty evil thing to do? YET, our Source turned this most horrible of events into a symbol of humanity’s union/reunion with the Divine, a beautiful experience.
3) Power & violence, at a fundamental level, have been transfigured into freedom & sacrificial Love.
Since this isn’t a family get together, let’s talk about politics and religion! 🙂 Hopefully we can agree both have their benefits and their, umm, “drawbacks”. Governments and religions are, by nature, institutions, which acquire power. While this power can be used for good, it easily turns corrupt, wherein church and/or state use their muscle to control people. Often, this clout gets used in literally or figuratively violent ways.
In my mind, the epitome of how church and state can go awry came when the Roman government and Jerusalem’s religious system conspired to kill Jesus. Power and violence killed the Christ. YET, Jesus took the energy of all that life-taking nastiness and transformed it into a life-giving freedom to Love and be Loved freely and fully.
When we live worried and afraid, we naturally seek power/control and use violence, in all its forms, to place ourselves above others. This is the way of empire. Jesus, though, took away the need for fear and insecurity by declaring us immensely Loved, which frees us to care for and give to others, while being cared for and given to.
4) Death is filled with Christ.
A good case can be made that death is what “inspires” the deepest fear, anxiety, and avoidance in us. It’s the great unknown. Yet, to borrow from author/pastor Brian Zahnd, by dying on the cross the Christ went all the way into the depths of the unknown, the dark of “hell”, and the heart of our greatest fear, and filled it with God’s self, so that when we die, we will experience nothing but Christ.
5) Love and relationship is the point.
Jesus was born in poverty and disgrace, birthed in a manger as an illegitimate child (everyone would have known Mary got pregnant before she was married, and it’s unlikely many believed God’s Spirit had impregnated her). God in the flesh spent the first thirty years of life unknown and anonymous. Then, on the cross, this same God was executed in the most shameful way as a criminal.
I point this out because I believe on the cross Jesus really drove home the point that titles, achievements, knowledge, possessions, status, and so on not only do NOT define us, they don’t rank very high on the list of what matters in life.
The words Jesus spoke as he hung suffering, suffocating, and dying on the cross show us what DOES matter. He speaks forgiveness for all involved. The Christ cried out in dismay when he felt separated from God. Jesus told his dear friend, John, to take care of his mom. As God always does, he showed Love to the criminals hanging on crosses next to him.
In short, Love and relationship is the point of life. I hope you have an amazing day and would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Grace and peace,