Christ on The Cross


Matthew 27: 45-46

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

 “Where was God?”

Sometimes it’s easy to see God.

In our children, learning and playing in Sunday School.  In a nature walk in the trails behind the church.  Heck, sometimes even in Church.

Other times, it’s much more difficult.

Last week, there was news of a chemical weapons attack in Syria.  Over 50 people were killed, including children.

“Where was God?”

I don’t know the answer to that. Not definitively.

There are answers, of course.  Too often, our answers are to transform God into a cosmic tyrant, causing untold suffering in the cause of a nebulous plan, or into a Deistic shell of a God, too weak or unwilling to prevent such suffering.

I think there is a third way.

To get there, we have to remember that Jesus suffered on the cross.

Theologically, Christ on the cross is the work of God that shattered the ultimate power of sin and death.  Grace and Eternal life would thereafter be available to all.  It is thus the ultimate cosmic victory, of love over death.

But the Cross is also the most personal and intimate of moments in the life of Christ.

It tells us not that suffering will be avoided, but rather that God will be with us.

Christ on the Cross is also with every addict who feels withdrawal. It is with everyone who has felt the sting of the death of a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, a lover, a teacher, a confidant.

It is with everyone who struggles to get out of bed in the morning, because they just don’t have it in them anymore.

The Cross is in every Immigration and Customs Holding Center. It is in Syria with the victims of Chemical weapons, dying of suffocation as Christ did.

The work of the Cross was complete on that hill outside of Jerusalem.  But it is also ever ongoing, as Christ suffers alongside all those who suffer.

For those in the midst of suffering, bearing the brunt of physical pain, of persecution, of grief or death, this might be of small comfort.

But where there is God, there is hope.

For we are not just a faith of Good Friday, but of Easter Sunday as well.