Let us stand together at the scene of the cross, the dust beneath our feet, sweat and blood dripping on to this same dusty earth upon which we stand. Jeering and cheering ringing in our ears, cries of forsakenness echoing out into the darkness, the hustle and bustle of crowds witnessing condemned men die.
“There is God!” someone shouts. “THERE IS GOD!!”
And they point to the broken, bleeding, naked, cursed wreck of a human being.
There is God.
Yet this is what the church has been seeking to declare for 2000 years, that here is God; Christ crucified.
Whenever the word ‘God’ is uttered out of our mouths we bring with it all kinds of ideas and understandings, images of what we believe ‘God’ should be like; powerful, creator, spirit, unknowable, everywhere, beard, Zeus, thunderbolts, perfect, loving, holy, wise.
So often we seek a God who will give us a sign or be proven through eloquence and ‘reason’.
And yet Paul states,
‘…but we proclaim Christ crucified.’
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things, the figure of him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger.’
Here at the cross is where we encounter God, the God of suffering love, and we see who God is and what God is like.
This is the God of radical forgiveness who repeats over and over, ‘Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing’. This is the God of Unconditionality who welcomes us home with open arms and an overflowing heart, demanding not grovelling on our knees, but our presence at his celebration.
But we proclaim Christ crucified.
This is no ‘deus ex machina’ god who swoops in like Superman to rescue.
No, the God we encounter through Christ crucified is the God who is with us, who meets with us in the midst of our pain and suffering and recognises the reality of our plight. The suffering cry of Jesus echoes out into all eternity bringing hope to the whole cosmos.
‘There is a fantastic image used by Martin Luther, the great reformer, who said that the human being is (in Latin) ‘incurvatus in se’, curved over on themselves, rolled up into a little ball like a spiritual hedgehog.’ Rowan Williams
The Crucified God draws us out from ourselves to see God and neighbour and enemy. Not only to see, but to love.
Jesus said that as he is raised up he would draw all people to himself. In Christ Crucified we are all gathered together, humanity embraced in suffering love, to encounter who God really is.
We proclaim Christ Crucified.