Confession: over the past few months (really I mean years) I have realized I have an aversion to the cross.
At first I thought it was just my personal rejection of the consequence of sin and the odd place I am with the concept of sin/guilt (that is another blog). However, when I challenged that view within myself I realized that wasn't it. I really value the psalms of lament and the book of lamentations. I feel the need to grieve sin is one of the healthiest things we can do. So, my frustration with the cross seems not to be tied in with my thoughts on sin or consequence.
Then there was the part where I started to reject substitutionary atonement and the idea that the Father would kill the Son. (Or that God had to sacrifice the Son to the Devil to win our souls from Hell. That seems to give evil way too much weight in the story of God.) I lean towards agreeing with the liberal theologians that refer to that as divine child abuse. Nonetheless, I recognize that in the cross Jesus took on the sin of the world and that is a significant part of my salvation. I might not understand atonement, but I value the grace of the cross. I hope to never diminish the value of the grace shown as Jesus took on so much pain and rejection, but still it does not make me want to cling to the cross.
I could go on for a while with the ins and outs of my dealings with understanding the cross, but I would like to get to my point. It struck me tonight sitting on the N-Judah after a conversation that was meaningful, but in no way related, that my issue with the cross is: I don't want a love that would die for me; I want one that will live for me.
Don't get me wrong, I am not rejecting the love that is shown in the cross. I am rejecting the idea that Jesus came to this earth only to die for me. I am stating that I feel very strongly that I am in love with a savior that chose to live for me. After all that is the story sounds much more like the Good News. That story is the story of the nativity and life and healing and teaching and justice and repentance and hope.
If the it was just the cross that mattered the gospels would be much shorter and so much less meaningful. In fact they would just be trauma displayed for the world to grieve, there would be nothing Good about them. Furthermore, they would be indistinguishable from much of the tragic literature created during their time.
In time I hope to be at a better place in dealing with the death of Jesus, but tonight I am clinging to the Love that lived for me.