Tag Archives: triduum

When the Old Thing was Finished

John 18:1-19:42

The journey to this moment, began with those first stories of Advent. The angels that told Mary and Joseph that they would have a son. We don’t think much about Good Friday while singing Christmas carols.

But we began to clue in to where Jesus was headed when he went down the mountain of transfiguration into the valley of Lent.

From temptation in the wilderness, to secret meetings with the Pharisee Nicodemus as night, to Jacob’s well and the woman who had had 5 husbands, to the blind man who didn’t know who had healed him, to Mary and Martha’s grief on the road to Bethany… as Jesus uncovered our fears and anxieties in intimate encounters week after week… there were signs, signs that something bigger than just our issues and personal sufferings was being confronted. Jesus was passing by the particularities of our humanity. Jesus passed by because he was headed somewhere else.

Jesus was going to contend with something much bigger, something that was not about us individually… but something that is about us collectively.

And by the time we stood with the crowds waving palm branches, singing “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”…singing “Save us now,  Son of David” there was no doubt that we would find ourselves here.

There was no doubt that the disciples would betray and deny him.
There was no doubt that the mobs would demand crucifixion
There was no doubt political and religious leaders would use the outrage for their own benefit.
There was no doubt that the empire would coldly and ruthlessly order execution.

There was no doubt that the place Jesus was going to was the cross.

We could see that today was where Jesus was going because Good Friday we have seen before.

We have seen the betrayals and denials of friends and family.
We watch the angry mobs crying out for vengeance on cable news.
We witness daily political and religious and business leaders use our outrage to turn a profit or gain a political win or entrench the power of religious institutions.
We see an empire that treats people coldly and ruthlessly even as we live and thrive because of that same empire.

We have no doubt that Jesus could end up on cross, because people like Jesus always do.

The ones who speak out.
The ones who risk themselves for others.
The ones who fight for goodness over self-benefit, justice over victory, compassion over power.
The ones who show warmth amidst coldness, who show love over ruthlessness.

We know today, we know Good Friday well, because in our world, there is also Good Monday, Good Tuesday, Good Wednesday and Thursday, Good Saturday, and Sunday.

Jesus’ journey to Good Friday is a common journey.

And it isn’t.

Because we remember the angels of Advent and Christmas, because we remember the voice of God thundering over the waters of Baptism and on the mountain of Transfiguration.

And then even though we have seen this story often enough, of betray and denial, of outraged mobs, and manipulative leaders, and cold uncaring Empires… beneath the cross we finally see the thing that Jesus has been pulling us towards all along.

The truth that Jesus tried to remind the tempter of.
The questions that Jesus explained to Nicodemus
The living water that Jesus gave to the woman at the well.
The sight that Jesus revealed to the blindman.
The buried  mercy that Jesus opened up for Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

Today Jesus reveals to us not another person doomed to die on a cross.

Today, Jesus reveals God, willing to die on a cross.

For us.

And thus begins the new thing that God is doing.

The new thing in oldest of stories.

In oh so common of human deaths for the sake our failing humanity, our sinfulness exposed in every way imaginable…. in the ultimate hubris, our belief if we just killed God we could be God.

God shows us life by dying.

Jesus shows us the beginning accomplished through the end.

Jesus shows us mercy given by a God who simply won’t be pushed away any longer.

Jesus shows us the love and grace that will be born, and live and pass by and come close and be just like us. How this love and grace ties humanity and all creation together on the cross.

Jesus shows us the completion of the journey where God does the thing that we have refused to do since Adam and Eve left the garden….

God joins the fallen to the divine, joins the sinful to the forgiven, joins the finite to the infinite, permanence of death to constant renewal of life.

Jesus shows us a God that dies just like us.

A God comes to us and finds us in every place we can possibly go, even in death.

So that we will live, and death will not be our end anymore.

No… we don’t think about Good Friday while we sing Christmas carols.

But God does.

The cross was where the incarnation, where God come in flesh, was going from the beginning.

The cross is the place where God was going to redeem creation all along.
The cross is the place and Good Friday is the day when the old thing – the power of sin and death –

When the old thing was finished.

And Jesus made all things new.

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Today, God is dead.

We have made it to the cross.

We began our journey on Ash Wednesday.

We have descended into the valley of Lent.

And now we are at the bottom.

 

We are at the foot of the cross.

High above us hangs the Messiah that we waiting and hoped for in Advent.

High above us is Jesus who called his followers from their fishing boats

and then healed the sick

and cast out demons

and taught in synagogues

 

High above us hangs the Christ who rode into Jerusalem a King

and the crowds shouted Hosanna, they shouted save now.

and the Christ ate with his disciples and gave them new bread and new wine.

 

High above us hangs the God nailed to a cross

by the same crowds who called him King,

by the best political and religious authorities of the day

by those whose power was most threatened by a God who had come close.

 

High above us hangs the symbol of our greatest power.

We have put God to death.

 

God_is_DeadToday, God is dead.

 

We have made it to the bottom of the valley of the shadow of death

And along the way we heard the shouts of Hosanna and crucify him come from our lips.

And along the way we felt the what it was like to hold the hammers and the nails in our hands.

And along we way we knew that the only way we could try to be God, to be our own little gods would be to use our most god like power.

 

Death.

 

God came to us.

God showed us his face.

God healed our infirmities.

God reconciled our shame

God called us out of our brokenness

God forgave of us our sin.

 

And all we could do was respond with death.

 

God_Is_Dead_by_deviantkupoGod is dead.

And creation killed God.

And humanity killed God.

And we killed God.

 

We are at the foot of the cross.

High above us hangs the greatest symbol of our power.

A dead God.

 

And little do we know.

God has come to show us, to heal us, to reconcile us, to call us, to forgive us.

God has come to receive our judgement and to take our death.

 

As the Messiah hangs, as the Christ hangs, as Jesus hangs, as God hangs, God is gathering us all beneath the cross.

Beneath death.

Beneath not just God’s death, but all death.

Humanity’s death

Creation’s death

All of our death.

Because death is our power.

 

But God has an even greater power.

God is gathering us at the foot of the cross. To show us greater power.

God is going to turn all of our death into something different.

Into something new.

 

God is dead.

And yet God is not ended.

And yet God is not over.

And yet God is not finished.

 

God is transforming death.

God is transforming us.

God is transforming everything.

 

cross-silhouette1God is not ended, death is ended.

God is not over. Death is over.

God is not finished. Death is finished.

 

We have made it to the cross.

We have come to the bottom of the valley, to the shadow of death

To the shadow of the cross.

 

And it is the here.

 

God is making all things new.

God is making us new.

God is making death into life.

High above us hangs Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, Jesus God in flesh.

Jesus who is putting death to death.

Jesus who is God’s great power.

Jesus who is life.