GOSPEL: John 18:1–19:42
The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. (read the passion gospel)
The shadow of cross is dark and wide today.
The presence of death feels closer than ever.
The cross that is so often depicted standing behind mangers and stables at Advent,
stands tall above beds for the dying rather than for infants
and different makeshift shelters today.
The cross is spoken of with words that we didn’t even know a few weeks or months ago.
Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19.
The cross is revealed with words that we really didn’t understand, and still have yet to grasp.
The cross looms high and mighty over hospitals and temporary field units.
The cross’s darkness has forced the world forced to stay home.
The cross disrupts the work of governments, schools, businesses, public services and more.
The cross demands the sacrifice of those who serve on front lines to risk health and safety.
The cross is changing the world with numbers. Number that grow arbitrarily, numbers that terrify, numbers that signify entire lives ending while still in the middle of living, families unable to grieve, communities forced to adapt their care and support from afar.
The cross has arrived in a way that it hasn’t arrived in a long time, in a way that few alive today understand or comprehend.
And Jesus has been nailed to it, left to struggle for breath, left to suffocate unable to bring air into his lungs out of exhaustion.
Jesus has been nailed to it, unjustly, cruelly and for the gain of those in power, so that human greed and contempt can keep its grip on Godlike power.
Jesus has been nailed to it at young age, as someone who shouldn’t receive a death sentence, as someone who simply got mixed up in political games beyond his control.
Jesus has been nailed to the cross today, and it feels like just one more to add to the list of deaths, the list that we know has only begun being written.
The shadow of the cross is indeed dark and wide.
But it is not just pandemic and illness that makes the cross seem taller.
The cross is still our moment of shame, our moment of attempted power, our moment of trying to put ourselves before God.
The cross is still our human effort to put God to death, even as God keeps coming to us in life.
We want power, we want security, we want safety. We want to control our world, especially as it spins out of control beyond us.
We deny the danger, we forget to care for others, we put ourselves first, we try to use the power of death for our own gain.
Even still the cross has existed in God’s heart since the beginning of creation.
Even still Jesus goes to the cross knowing that it is God’s beloved creation putting him there.
Even still God is willing to die because we demand it, because our sin and pride demand it, because our selfishness demands it.
Yet today is the cross’s final day of power.
And yet, the cross will become more than our death symbol looming large.
And yet, the cross is God’s means to change our course and set creation on a new path.
What has been there since the beginning, Christ bring to its end.
Today Christ completes the journey towards creation.
Today Christ completes the journey towards us.
Today Christ joins creation and creator together in fullness,
undoing the damage of the fall,
undoing the separation endured since,
reconciling what was broken between us.
What has always been the end, Christ now begins as something new.
Today, Jesus goes where none of us can go and does what none but God can do.
Jesus goes to all the places where cross is found.
Jesus goes the hospitals and field units.
Jesus goes to empty streets and quiet neighbourhoods.
Jesus goes to the front lines at testings centres, and grocery stores, and public health offices, and nursing home windows, and emergency rooms and intensive care units.
Jesus goes to lonely quarantined people.
Jesus goes to temporary isolation housing for health workers.
Jesus goes to stressed out, cooped up families.
Jesus goes to hungry seniors waiting for food drop offs
Jesus goes to worried and anxious people whose hearts can find little peace.
Jesus goes to the grieving and the separated and the brokenhearted.
Jesus goes to every place where the cross looms large.
Jesus goes to every corner touched by the shadow of the cross.
Jesus goes to death itself.
And on the cross Jesus will take on our darkness,
take on our shadows and sin,
take on our suffering and trials and tribulations
take on our our illness and disease.
Jesus will take our death and make it God’s.
And then Jesus will take us and make us God’s own.
And Jesus will make the ending the beginning.
And Jesus will shake off our power of sin, our power of death, our power of the cross.
And Jesus will start a new thing.
A new thing on the cross, a new thing where we thought there was only death.
Today in the dark and wide shadow,
Today as the cross seems to stand above hospital beds and quarantine rooms.
Today when we use new words and forgotten words to describe death.
Today Christ does a new thing.
Christ hangs on the cross, without breath in his lungs, with pandemic in the air
And prepares the world
For New Life