Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Different Kind of Week.

This is kind of long. Put on your big-people underwear and deal.

I am a proud Protest-ant. I like the justified by faith vibe we have. I like the freedom. I really like having my own little communion cup with grape juice (wine is horrible). I like the way we do things.

But I think we have missed the boat on Holy Week. I think we do things differently sometimes as a reaction to what Catholics do. Take the Crucifix for example. At my old house in Woodstock my grandfather’s crucifix hung on the wall above my computer. I found a measure of comfort in this. Why? This is the profound mystery of the cross. Mystery works for me. Here is an exchange I had with a well meaning lady from my church when she saw this.

Lady: Why would you have that on your wall?
Me: What? (Pointing the crucifix) That.
Lady: Yes. Jesus came off the cross. He is risen.
Me: I agree. But before he “arisen” he hung on that cross.

What I really wanted to say was empty tombs don’t hang on the wall near as good as crosses. But good for me that I did not. My filter worked.

We Protest-ants tend to gloss over the betrayals, trials, scourgings, mockings, and death of Jesus as if all of these were just bumps in the road to the Resurrection. Phillip Yancey (in The Jesus I Never Knew) points out the Gospel narrative actually slows down during the last week instead of speeding up.

Jesus on a cross is an unsettling image for the justified by faith crowd. The justified by works crowd can feel a little better because at least they are trying to work off the debt that was paid by Jesus hanging on the cross. For me the cross is grace. Pure grace. My sin put him on the cross. And there is nothing I can do to repay this. I was justified (made right) with God and the image I associate with that is an occupied cross. An empty tomb is associated with other things. But this week is about a man and a cross.


Ben Hamaker said...

Most people know my position on ornate crosses- but the cross with Jesus on it I have no quarrel with. In HIM is the power to save. In HIM is the glory of heaven. The cross was merely the human end befor a risen eternity. It was the path he chose to end sin on. But it had no power over him but what he gave it, and it has no power over us but what we give it.

That being said, we make ourselves carry that burden, which I wholly doubt means wearing a golden bauble around our necks. (FYI: "Bauble" is the greatest contribution the Brittons made to the world.)

Ben Hamaker said...

before* ><