Jesus didn’t just hang there on the cross,
he melted in the sun.
our fondue savior
who flows down
to reach out and dip
whatever we damn well please
into his substance.
and we take
Station 12 – Jesus dies on the cross
From the planks of the cross Jesus quotes the psalmist’s lament, echoing the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In the moment of his deepest pain and sorrow Jesus utters a lament of abandonment and disorientation. We cannot allow this cry to affirm that Jesus was ever forsaken, out of touch with the Holy, and left alone. When we do so we remove the presence of God from pain and claim that God is absent in the hurting of others and in the hurt that we experience ourselves. Nor can we leap to the opposite extreme and affirm that the death of Jesus was divinely demanded by God. The act of Incarnation planted the Divine deep within the soil of creation so that God experiences life with us in all seasons. Denis Edwards writes:
The Holy Spirit is with Jesus in his suffering and death, transforming suffering into redemptive love and bringing life out of misery and death. This line of thought can be taken further. I believe it is important to insist that the cross itself cannot be thought of as directly willed by God. God does not plan or want the evil act of crucifixion. This was an arbitrary, ugly, and sinful act performed by a number of human beings against one who was innocent. In this way it was like many other murders and executions then and now. God does not will any such horrors. This is why Edward Schillebeeckx can say that “first of all, we have to say that we are not redeemed thanks to the death of Jesus but despite it.” He insists that it is only in the overcoming of the evil, in its transformation by God that we can think of being saved through the execution of the innocent one. The Spirit of God transforms the brutal and wicked act of crucifixion into an event that brings healing and liberation. God brings new life, freedom, and healing through the cross, because the destructive act of crucifying Jesus is transformed by the power of the life-giving Spirit into the vehicle of resurrection life.
Prayer: May I never assume You have forsaken me. May I see you in the darkness and hear you in the silence. May my life be transformed by the act of suffering You endured on the cross.
1. Denis Edwards, Breath of Life: A Theology of the Creator Spirit (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004) pages 82-83